2011 BMW X3Enlarge Photo
The problem with filming the birth of a child is this: what do you with the footage after you capture it? Relatives won’t want to see it, and I’d be afraid of any neighbors who voluntarily sit though a screening. Let’s face it: childbirth, though miraculous, isn’t exactly pretty to watch.
The birth of another kind of baby, one with four wheels, an engine and lots of cowhide in the interior, is nearly as miraculous, and a whole lot more enjoyable to view on a big-screen, high-definition television. BMW’s been offering factory delivery (in either the U.S. or Germany, depending upon model) for years, but only a small percentage of buyers take advantage of the program. Allowing customers to visit factories to watch their vehicles being built isn’t practical either, but BMW has come up with a unique alternative for X3 buyers. By establishing an account at BMW USA and entering a product order number or VIN, buyers can watch the step-by-step creation of their four-wheeled pride and joy.
Seven cameras document the build of your X3, and registered buyers can view the assembly line footage at their leisure. Since the whole process is taped, there’s no need to call in sick to watch your dash assembly being mounted; instead, you can call it up at your convenience, fast-forward through the boring stuff and watch the good bits over and over. You even get to see your car being driven off the assembly line, if you can stand the thought of someone else behind your steering wheel.
The program started with the launch of the new X3 in January, and each vehicle built since has had footage associated with it. Why go through such an effort to interact with buyers? It’s all about building brand loyalty, and in the words of BMW marketing manager Trudy Hardy, “This production footage of the BMW X3 vehicles from our Spartanburg plant enhances the overall customer experience that is part of the BMW brand.” In other words, the better the customer experience, the more likely it is to generate repeat business.