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Faced With Declining European Sales, BMW Shifts Inventory To The U.S.

 

2013 BMW 3-Series

2013 BMW 3-Series

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The European economic crisis is having a serious impact on car sales there, and 2012 is likely to end with the biggest single-year sales decline in 19 years. Faced with shrinking sales in Europe and a slowing economy in Asia, BMW is turning to its U.S. dealers for help.

USA Today is reporting that BMW has changed delivery of “tens of thousands” of vehicles originally destined for Europe and Asia. Instead, these are now U.S.-bound, where demand for the Munich automaker’s products remains high.

The silver lining to this story is that modern manufacturing processes make this possible. Instead of building cars for specific markets, most manufacturers now build cars that meet the safety and emission standards for multiple markets, giving them greater sales flexibility in the event of an economic downturn.

Through September, BMW has sold 234,928 cars in the United States, an increase of 7.1-percent from last year, and sales show no sign of slowing despite the struggling U.S. economy. Overall, the auto industry is on track to sell a million more cars in the U.S. in 2012 than it did in 2011.

Even this well has a bottom, though, and loading up dealers with inventory is never a sustainable long-term strategy. If sales start to cool here as well, those still in the market for a BMW (or other luxury marque) could find themselves faced with plenty of choices, and dealers willing to negotiate on price.

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