BMW's Future Retail program includes two driving schools -- programs not only for customers but potential conquests.
"This, too, is part of Future Retail," said Peter Miles, vice president of sales channel development and customer relations for BMW of North America. "It is huge."
Miles expects about 30,000 participants annually to take classes at the two schools. Prices range from $775 for teens to $1,550 for the M high-performance course.
The first school is at BMW's factory in Spartanburg, S.C. Between 1,000 and 1,500 people per month take driving courses there; about half are owners, said Miles.
The second school, BMW Performance Center West, opens this spring. BMW signed an agreement with the Thermal Club, a private racing club outside Palm Springs, Calif., within 21/2 hours of Los Angeles and San Diego. Classes there are projected to bring in about 14,000 participants a year, said Miles.
Because of the second school's proximity to Los Angeles, Miles said, he expects about 2,500 teen drivers, 6,000 corporate participants who'll come for team-building programs, 3,500 for the adult driving school and 2,000 for the M high-performance car and advanced M courses in which "you are in a helmet and are racing."