A German BMW dealer group is offering a pre-launch cash incentive on the new 1 series.
Customers can get a E2,000 trade-in bonus on 1-series purchases from Kaltenbach-Gruppe, which has nine BMW dealerships near Cologne, if they order the car before it arrives in showrooms.
BMW will launch the car throughout western Europe September 18.
Executives at the dealer group say the move is necessary because BMW is entering a new segment -- entry premium -- where it will compete for sales against rivals such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
But BMW bosses in Munich are annoyed at the dealers group's go-it-alone offer. "We're not happy," said a BMW manager.
And BMW's dealer association spokesman, Peter Enders, condemned the offer.
"It's totally unnecessary because there is a great demand for the 1 series."
BMW says it will sell the 1 series in the US, but won't say when.
The car will compete against the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A class.