The Complete Guide to Factory and European Delivery for Diesels

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BMW Performance Delivery Center, Spartanburg

European and Factory Delivery sales can be arranged through authorized factory dealerships in the United States.  Some dealerships designate one salesperson as a specialist in this area although their knowledge may vary.  Buyers should expect more paperwork (after all, buying a car doesn’t typically involve one’s passport) and need to be aware that the waiting time for redelivery (as measured between European drop-off and pick up in the U.S.) can be four to eight weeks.

Each car is built to the customer’s specifications and orders should be placed at least three months prior to the desired delivery date, although cars can sometimes be delivered with shorter notice.

Buyers need to be aware of local holidays when making travel plans not only for the delivery and drop-off dates (when these facilities may be closed) but because school vacations and other holidays may result in extra traffic on the roads.  In addition, all drop-off locations are closed on weekends with the exception of Munich, which is open Saturday mornings.  However, some locations will, for an additional fee, make special arrangements for an after-hours drop-off.


Once you place your order, your salesperson should provide you with a confirmed delivery date within a week.  At that point you can begin to plan your trip and book flights and hotel rooms.

Walter Blum, Helms Bros. Mercedes-Benz, N.Y.

A European Delivery vehicle will typically come with auto insurance for a two week trip.  The insurance can be extended at extra cost as long as this is arranged at the time the order is placed.  (see the chart for details on insurance options for each manufacturer) and your license plates and registration will mirror the insurance term.

Prior to leaving for your delivery, you need to pay for the car (if leasing or financing, you sign the paperwork). Additionally, Audi requires all European Delivery buyers to prepay the German Value-Added Tax (VAT), currently 19%, up front. The VAT is later refunded by the dealer in the U.S, after the car is dropped off at the shipping agent, provided that happens within 90 days of taking delivery.

Port of Bremerhaven

Once in Europe, you visit the delivery center, for diesels the Audi Forum or the Mercedes-Benz Kundencenter, on the prearranged day and drive away with your new car.  BMW’s U.S. factory is in Spartanburg, South Carolina and deliveries take place across the street at the Performance Delivery Center.

You can typically drop the car off in the same city you picked it up in (although not at the same place) or you can (in some cases for an additional charge) drop it off almost anywhere your travels take you in Europe.  This, of course, doesn’t apply to BMW customers taking delivery in Spartanburg. They simply drive their new car home.

All programs (except for BMW’s where none of this is necessary) include inland shipping to the port, wharfage, shipping, customs duties and brokerage fees, as well as transportation to your local dealership.  In some cases, if you have ordered factory navigation, your car will come with European maps already installed on the system’s hard drive (U.S. maps will be installed prior to redelivery).

When the car comes in, it will be processed at the port in a manner similar to the way new cars (your car is no longer new, in fact, it is a privately-owned vehicle, namely yours) are handled and then sent with a shipment of new cars to your dealership.

Click here to continue to Page 4My European and Factory Deliveries and Program Comparison Chart

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