Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

BMW Takes the Uncertainty Out of the Lease-End Process

August 3, 2001

In an effort to make life easier for drivers of leased vehicles, BMW Financial Services (BMW FS) on Aug. 3 unveiled a new customer-driven self-inspection program for the U.S. market. The new program, designed to take uncertainty out of lease-end car return, lets the customer conduct a vehicle inspection at home - before having the inspection validated - and minimize the surprises that sometimes come at the termination of a lease."People who lease cars will tell you that they are uncertain of what to expect from lease-end inspections...especially if they return a car with extra miles or minor wear and use," says Bob Devine, managing director of BMW FS in the United States. "In an effort to alleviate their concerns and build more solid relationships with our customers, we created this easy-to-use measuring tool and cost sheet. We tested it in focus groups, and learned that many of our customers and retailers really like the concept, the tool and the ability to estimate their lease-end charges in advance "Among the most innovative tools provided by the program is an inspection wheel - a device that measures small dents, scratches and dings. The transparent, circular device is about the size of a compact disk and looks like a "bulls eye." It is easily held up against damage to estimate the cost. Additionally, the inspection wheel evaluates windshield cracks and tire tread depth.A comprehensive lease-end inspection form is also provided; it details specific dollar amounts for damages measured by the device. The form also covers excess mileage and parts charges such as worn tires, missing keys and broken headlights. "The self-evaluation process is optional," said Devine. "Customers may choose either a dealer-administrated appraisal or an independent inspection." Also part of BMW's program is a "90 Days To Go" package including self-inspection materials that help facilitate the lease-end process. The package provides customers with a reference guide outlining lease-end options that include releasing, refinancing and purchasing. If, after reading these sections the customer still wishes to return their BMW (hopefully to lease or purchase another vehicle), the package includes a vehicle turn-in checklist wear and use guidelines. The checklist is designed to help customers through the closing of their lease while the guidelines give examples of acceptable and unacceptable conditions for evaluating vehicle wear and use. About BMW Financial ServicesBMW Financial Services of North America was established in 1992 as a captive finance company to support the North and Latin American sales and marketing efforts of the BMW Group.With more than $11 billion in managed assets and more than 364,000 customers, BMW FS leases or finances over half of the new BMW vehicles sold in the U.S. BMW FS employs about 400 people, most of whom are located in the Dublin, Ohio Customer Service Center. BMW FS also services the Canadian market and recently opened a new Financial Services company in Brazil.BMW Financial Services provides a wide range of leasing, retail, commercial, banking and insurance products tailored to meet the needs of BMW customers and dealers. All lease servicing, including credit underwriting, funding, customer service, title administration, lease-end and collections are handled at the Dublin customer service center. A growing portfolio of banking, credit card and insurance offerings is also available through the BMW Bank of North America. BMW Group in AmericaBMW of North America has been present in the United States since 1975. Since then, the BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW and MINI brands; a South Carolina manufacturing operation; DESIGNWORKS/USA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.The BMW Group is represented in the U.S. through a network of more than 340 car, 315 sports activity vehicle and 160 motorcycle retailers. BMW US Holding Corp., the Group's headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.Information about BMW Group products is available at www.bmwusa.com and www.miniusa.com.
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