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BMW Expands U.S. Fleet Presence

BMW’s i-Series sub-brand ushers in a new era of urban mobility.

September 2011, by Chris Wolski and Mike Antich

BMW's i-Series sub-brand ushers in a new era of urban mobility. The all-electric i3 (right) launches in 2013, while the i8 plug-in hybrid arrives in 2014.
 BMW's i-Series sub-brand ushers in a new era of urban mobility. The all-electric i3 (right) launches in 2013, while the i8 plug-in hybrid arrives in 2014.

Even though it has years of fleet experience in Europe — at one time the U.K. accounted for half its business there — BMW didn’t enter the U.S. fleet market until 2010.

The irony was that there were numerous U.S.-based corporations that relied on BMW for their fleet needs in Germany and the U.K. “It was a bit of an anomaly,” says Drew McClelland, corporate sales manager, BMW North America. “We looked at what the competition was doing — Mercedes-Benz and Audi — and we felt we had to be in the fleet market. Now that we’ve entered the fleet market, there’s no turning back.”

EPP Lifts Off
In 2010, BMW North America launched its Executive Preference Program (EPP) as its official entry into the fleet market.

The EPP is a fleet program for the U.S. and Canada that allows eligible fleet drivers to order BMW and MINI-brand products. Benefits of the EPP include BMW Ultimate Service, which is no-cost maintenance for four years or 50,000 miles and roadside assistance for four years and unlimited miles. The EPP is open to both companies and employees on reimbursement or car allowance programs.

McClelland expects to see the program grow over the next several years. His target is up to 5,000 vehicles per year, and a dedicated sales force is ready to help build the program.

“I think it’s natural to move into fleet sales,” McClelland says. “But, we’ll only do it on the basis that’s profitable and makes sense. Our fleet sales will be done in a very controlled way because we don’t want to damage BMW brands’ residual value, which is one of our strengths.”

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