With a cascade of new and redesigned vehicles arriving in BMW showrooms in the next year, dealers are asking the automaker to put more marketing money behind the product onslaught.
"We feel we need more marketing money for these launches, but we're going to work with BMW," said Patrick Womack, chairman of the BMW National Dealer Forum. "The message was sent when we were in Munich by a few other dealers that we would like to see some more emphasis put on marketing and the budget from Munich."
BMW of North America executives also are seeking an increase in marketing money, said Womack, general manager of Laurel BMW of Westmont in suburban Chicago. Unless BMW Group leaders increase the funds as a result of the conversations, the 2018 U.S. marketing budget will be at a level similar to 2017, he said. He didn't disclose the amount.
BMW and its dealers have a lot of fresh products to push this year. The brand is trying to turn around sales after two consecutive annual declines. BMW's U.S. sales dropped 2.4 percent in 2017 to 305,685 vehicles as it finished in second place in the U.S. luxury sales race.
As part of the product rush, the new X2 crossover just reached dealerships. Also slated to go on sale this year are the redesigned X4 and X5 crossovers, the new 8-series coupe and the redesigned 3-series sedan. The new X7 large crossover will go on sale in early 2019.
"We would love some additional funds for all these product launches coming and then continued support in marketing for the new products," said Womack, who described the lack of a marketing increase as a bit of a sore spot for the dealer group. "We need to make a big bang."