SAN DIEGO — BMW is courting potential buyers of its revamped 7 series with a 15-city road tour. The goal: Offer an early look at the flagship sedan at informal events without the cost of a national TV blitz.
The tour began Feb. 1 and runs through March 4. The 7 series is due in showrooms in late March. At a typical stop, several cars are displayed at a hotel, where BMW and event management staffers spend about two hours with about 100 invitees.
The guests are served appetizers and drinks, the wraps are pulled from the cars, and the potential buyers are urged to climb in and out of the vehicles and ask questions.
When the tour ends, the 7 series will have been at more than 60 events, said Alanna Bahri, brand manager for the 6 and 7 series. "It's a low-key environment," and although dealer salespeople and general managers are invited, BMW emphasizes these are not sales events, said Bahri, who spoke at a press event here.
The approach is new for BMW, which plans a national print and billboard campaign when the 7 series arrives in showrooms. The campaign has the tag line "Never Stand Still" and will promote technological advances on the 7 series.
The lease penetration rate for the 7 series has run as high as 70 percent, and BMW is eager to get consumers coming off leases back into a 7 series. Showing these customers the 7 series early is important, because in the luxury-sedan segment "buyers want the newest and the latest," said Bahri.
She said BMW hopes that about 50 percent of 7-series buyers will be lured from competitors' vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz S500, Lexus LS and Audi A8.