A European honeymoon or vacation becomes even more special when car buyers can take delivery of their brand-new car at the factory overseas.
In fact, you can save enough money with European delivery programs (EDP for short) that the trip where you tour the countryside in your new car is, in effect, free.
To start the process, you can place your order for European delivery through an authorized dealer in the US or Canada. (Any car destined for North America will be configured to meet emission standards.)
In addition to a no-haggle discount of five to eight percent off the manufacturer’s suggested purchase price, car makers throw in overseas travel perks and freebies. With any European delivery program, you’ll need to stay 10 days minimum for valid European registration and license plates, insurance, and taxes.
Vacation perks include free hotel stays, meals, insurance, even round-trip airfare. These add-ons can add up to as much as $5,000, certainly helping defray the cost of a trip and avoid expensive European rental car costs.
The downside? You’ll have to pay in full for the vehicle before you pick it up at the factory overseas—although some U. S. dealers will arrange financing. Also, while some European delivery centers are open Saturdays, drop-off facilities are not, so plan your excursion to return the car on a weekday.
Buyers are reunited with cars at their local dealership 6 to 8 weeks after saying goodbye in Europe. That’s another upside: European delivery programs mean you get to welcome your new car not once, but twice.
Many makers of European cars have delivery programs.
BMW European Delivery Programs
BMW European Delivery Programs begin in Munich and buyers can drive from there to some of the most iconic destinations in Europe in their new car.
The packaged trips available can be either pre-planned or customized. BMW partners with Butterfield and Robinson, a luxury travel company, who coordinates the trip which includes upscale lodging, meals, local expert guides, and more.
Learn more about European Delivery travel with Butterfield & Robinson.
The European Delivery Program includes:
- Munich Airport Shuttle
- 14 days insurance and registration
- Munich factory tour
- BMW Museum visit
- European inland transportation
- Paid shipping insurance
- Paid customs duty and clearance processing
- Port processing in the U.S.
- Necessary wharf and handling fees
At BMW's European campus, there is a special section for customers taking delivery of new cars that offers snacks, wi-fi, and the chance to chat with other people awaiting delivery of new BMW sedans, coupes, or convertible cars.
A concierge can arrange free guided tours of the factory and BMW Museum, where rare vintage cars are showcased. Other galleries trace the evolution of popular models and peek into the future of alternative fuels. Adjacent to the museum, BMW World contains current models, restaurants, shops, and displays.
Dropping off your new BMW in Munich, Lausanne, or Vienna is included in the car's European Delivery price. Then it’s a 6-8 week wait for the Beemer to arrive home.
Mercedes European Delivery Programs
Mercedes-Benz has been arranging European delivery of cars since 1964 and has sold well over 100,000 to North Americans this way.
The company offers a generous 7 percent off MSRP, a variety of leasing and financing options, and 15-day zero-deductible insurance.
To get to Europe, Mercedes-Benz offers a Delta air line voucher of $200 and one night's accommodation in one of two hotels in Stuttgart or Bremen. You'll then get taxi credit for your ride to the Delivery Center or hotel.
The next day, you'll be treated to breakfast or lunch at the Delivery Center restaurant. You can tour the Mercedes Museum and the Mercedes-Benz factory.
Be sure and plan sufficient time to visit the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart, which traces the history of the automobile from Gottlieb Daimler’s 1888 horseless carriage through years of partnership with Karl Benz, Rudolph Diesel, and, more recently Chrysler, with stops in between for the likes of a 1939 Silver Arrow and a Popemobile.
The most photographed car is the iconic 1950s red 300SL Gullwing. A motorsports section includes Juan Manuel Fangio’s 1956 Grand Prix winner and a Formula One Mercedes-McClaren.
Once you pick up your car, you're ready for your European vacation. You'll be given 15 days European Road Insurance and a full tank of fuel and there is so much to see. Stuttgart is an all-business city, except in fall, when it is home to Germany’s second largest Oktoberfest. Each brewery has its own tent and can hold as many as 5,000 thirsty people.
Ludwigsburg, with a beautiful baroque castle that has more than 400 rooms and the world’s first theater with a revolving stage, is just outside town.
Or opt for a Black Forest-Alps itinerary. You can weave through spectacular Alpine scenery and the famous spa at Baden-Baden. You’ll drive over the Arlberg Pass into Austria, including to St. Anton, a mountain resort favored by celebrities.
Once you've enjoyed visiting all those castles, beer halls, vineyards, and historic towns, your new car will receive:
- Shipping from eleven European Drop-off Points to the port
- Ocean freight to a U.S. port
- Marine Insurance
- Transportation to the local dealer with no destination charge
Volvo European Delivery Programs
The Volvo cars program has been operating since the 1950s, delivering some 300,000 vehicles. About 8,000 current models plus unsold ones from the previous year are taken annually for European delivery.
As an incentive to buyers, Volvo offers two complimentary economy round-trip SAS flights to Europe, with access to SAS Business Class lounges in selected U.S. airports, plus one night at the Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg located in the heart of the City in the Central Square
The Factory Delivery Center is open weekdays, as is Volvo’s own test track. EDP participants are permitted to take a few laps around the track to familiarize themselves with their new car before heading out into traffic.
Buyers may pick up or drop off the car almost anywhere in Europe. Doing so at Volvo in Gothenburg is free; pick-up or drop off elsewhere in Europe ranges from $300 to more than $1,000, depending on the city. But why add on the expense, when there’s plenty to see and do around Gothenburg?
Once you turn in your car, the program takes care of your home shipment service to your local U.S. Volvo dealer. To get all this done you'll have assistance from an Overseas Delivery specialist who will help plan your European trip with your new Volvo. Overseas Delivery travel planning is courtesy of Corporate Travel.
While you are in Europe, insurance coverage for up to 15 days including temporary Swedish registration will be provided.
Bentley European Delivery Programs
Bentley produces only bespoke vehicles, and its European delivery program operates the same way: everything is customized.
Most visitors to the Bentley factory in Crewe, near Manchester, England, already have placed their order with a U.S. dealer.
The visit is more to experience the Mulliner workshop, home of custom coach building.
Whatever you can imagine and afford, they can do: From monogrammed seats for each family member (as were ordered by soccer star David Beckham and wife Victoria), to a custom color that matches your eyes. The only Bentley color that customers may not order is Royal Claret; it is reserved for Queen Elizabeth II.
A new sedan or convertible can require a year's wait, longer for Mulliner customization. It takes time to hand-match and install the wood veneers and leathers for the interior, and hand-polish multiple coats of paint.
As J. P. Morgan once said regarding the price of his yacht, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” So it is with Bentley, which does not offer a discount for European delivery.
Guests usually are hosted overnight at the charming Crewe Hall Hotel, and a Bentley employee can assist with flight and local touring arrangements.
Bentley picks customers up at Manchester airport. There’s also a small museum, mostly of early Bentley racecars.
There is ample reason to tour nearby. The nearest town of size is Chester, a walled city whose town center contains Tudor-style timber buildings dating to the 1200s. This was a Roman outpost, and a huge amphitheater is steps from the center of downtown, as is a small museum of Roman artifacts.
Stay at the five-star Chester Grosvenor. Its large, well-appointed rooms will cosset you almost as much as your new Bentley.