How to Plan a Diesel-Powered European Delivery Trip

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The author's new BMW 535d at the BMW Welt in December

The author’s new BMW 535d at the BMW Welt in December

Over the years, the automakers have invested increasing effort in the customer experience for European Delivery, making the actual delivery a point in which the customer’s relationship with the brand is further cemented.

In the first decade of this century, four leading German automakers opened or significantly renovated the museums that are dedicated to each brand’s history and heritage.  BMW’s decision to go beyond a museum (the BMW Museum has been in place since the opening of BMW’s four-cylinder headquarters building in 1972) and build a brand experience center is perhaps the best example of this movement, but the result is clear: the automakers have created cathedrals devoted to the car in an attempt to connect to brand devotees on an even more significant level.

[One German carmaker that offers factory delivery, albeit not to Americans, Volkswagen, built the Autostadt, a rather ambitious auto theme park dedicated to the carmaker’s history.]

PLANNING THE TRIP

One starts the process by ordering a car from a dealership in the U.S.  While any dealership can sell you the car, I’ve found that it’s better to deal with a salesman who has experience with these programs because of the greater complexity involved (after all, the purchase of an automobile doesn’t typically involve a passport).

There are also several online forums that focus on European Delivery that the prospective buyer can turn to.  One of the most popular – and heavily frequented – is the Bimmerfest European Delivery Forum.  Even Mercedes buyers come to this forum to tap into the knowledge of the forum members.

Different automakers offer various drop-off points for your car so you should check on the manufacturer’s website for the latest information.  Typically, drop-off service is available in Bremerhaven, Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Zürich, and Vienna.

Once you know what car and model you are will be getting, it’s important to find out the lead time for delivery.

To ensure getting the date you want, you should plan at least three months out, especially during the late spring and summer months when the delivery centers are quite busy.  Also, many Europeans do factory delivery for many of the reasons U.S. customers do it, although they can of course drive their cars home.

WHERE TO GO: OFF THE BEATEN PATH DRIVES

Where you will go depends on several factors including your starting point and time of year.  Keep in mind that diesel-powered automobiles are in the majority in Europe so finding fuel will not be a challenge.

Most visitors, when planning a European trip, think major cities and capitals.  While these are certainly nice places to visit, they’re less than ideal for a European Delivery trip.  Not only will you have to pay to garage your car in expensive locations, but it will probably remain parked in those garages while you take in the sights.

Instead, I prefer – and recommend – smaller towns and villages for a truly different and immersive experience. Here are a few of my favorite places to tour:

Click here to continue to Page 3Austria, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia, and Slovenia

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