BMW executive: We didn't cheat; 'everyone does it'
Ludwig Willisch: BMW’s incentive demo plan wasn’t unethical, and “it made the cars move.”
Brouhaha aside, BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch wonders what was so terrible about giving dealers cash to buy demos so that fewer 2012s would be sitting around when the 2013s arrive.
Willisch was irritated by a report in The Wall Street Journal that BMW artificially pumped up July sales -- and outsold rival Mercedes-Benz -- by offering dealers big cash discounts for one day only, on July 31, if they put the vehicles into the demo/service loaner fleet.
First of all, Willisch said the dealer cash was available for all of July, not just on the 31st, when a reminder memo went out. Besides, he said, "everyone does it."
BMW offered dealers cash on 2012 models -- from $2,500 on the 528i sedan to $7,000 on certain 7-series vehicles. He said all 339 BMW dealers took advantage of the cash offer.
Willisch would not say how many demo cars were added in July -- and counted as sold. But he said the cash offer did what was intended: "It made the cars move."