BMW is turning up the volume on its certified used-car program.
In 1997, BMW dealers sold 7,667 certified used cars. In just the first quarter of 1998, they sold 4,001.
Bill Bates, marketing manager of BMW of North America Inc.'s certified used-car sales program, said the company has stepped up its local marketing support for certified used cars. He wants to turn the 18-month-old certified used-vehicle program into a brand within the brand.
BMW, through its dealer groups, is helping to pay for regional ads for its used-car program. BMW also has put together advertising kits for the 244 of its 340 dealers who sell its certified used cars.
And BMW pays half of the advertising cost that each of its dealerships incurs to promote its used-car program.
Bates said BMW does not market its certified used cars nationally because it thinks it gets better results from local advertising.
BMW expects most of its certified used cars to be off-lease cars. Bates said 40,000 BMWs will come off lease this year.
Not all of the off-lease BMWs are expected to pass certification. BMW requires the service technician who inspects the car and a supervisor to sign a checklist that says the car has passed all check points.
A copy of the checklist is given to the person who buys or leases the car.
The theory is that technicians and their supervisors will be reluctant to certify a marginal BMW when they know they can be held accountable.
To qualify for BMW's certified program, a car must have a minimum of one month or 1,000 miles left on its original warranty.
When the warranty expires, BMW's Comprehensive Protection Program kicks in.
BMW provides protection on major components for an additional two years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Certified BMWs are covered by the automaker's roadside assistance program.