July 22-- Imagine that a large U.S. dealership group decides to use incentives to attract customers to a new model launch without any factory support.
OK, let's take the fantasy a step further.
Imagine that not only does the factory fail to contribute to the incentive, but the factory gets angry about it and so does the dealer council chairman.
Here's what happened in Germany:
A German BMW dealer group is offering a 2,000 euro discount - about $2,500 - on a new BMW 1 series to customers who order before the Sept. 18 on-sale date and trade in a vehicle.
What's the big deal?
The rebate seemed like a good idea to managers of the Kaltenbach-Gruppe, which is based in the Rhineland region. That's because the new BMW 1 will compete against established competition such as the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A class. Guess what? There already has been a lot of interest, the managing director told Automobilwoche, a sister publication to Automotive News.
You would think BMW officials in Munich, Germany, would applaud the dealer's ingenuity and self-reliance for paying incentives without asking the factory for subsidies.
Factory officials and the BMW dealer association were upset because they believe there is plenty of demand for the 1 series and, besides, that type of discount before the car is even on sale will only erode the brand image.
BMW officials are coy about when the 1 series will come to America.
But when the entry-level luxury car gets here it'll be interesting to see if any BMW dealers in the United States are tempted to dig into their pockets for a $2,500 discount.
It does give a whole new meaning to dealer incentive.