2012 BMW 1-Series Hatchback (three-door)
The race to become America's #1 luxury brand is on, and the competition is getting ugly.
Last year, Lexus' 11-year reign at the top of the U.S. luxury heap came to an end, precipitated by an aging vehicle lineup and exacerbated by production problems caused by natural disasters in Asia.
Since then, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have been running neck-and-neck at the front of the pack. In fact, in May of 2011, they were separated by just 29 deliveries. And back in August, news broke that BMW may have fudged sales figures to maintain its slim lead.
Now, the landscape is even more complicated. In August, Lexus roared back to life, overtaking both BMW and Mercedes. And while BMW leads Mercedes at the global level, it's begun to stumble here in the U.S., trailing Mercedes-Benz by 5,221 sales for the year.
And so, BMW is switching to Plan B: enticing customers with the opportunity to skip up to three payments if they buy a BMW before the end of October.
According to Bloomberg, BMW has contacted customers currently leasing 2010 model-year BMW vehicles. The automaker has offered those customers the chance to skip up to three monthly payments on any new or certified-used vehicle purchased by October 31 and financed through BMW Financial Services. Although the details aren't entirely clear, it appears that BMW is simply offering buyers the opportunity to delay a few loan installments without incurring penalties or triggering past-due notices on credit reports.
Nearly all vehicles in the BMW lineup are eligible for the deal, including X-Series SUVs. In fact, the only vehicles excluded are M-Series performance vehicles and 3 Series coupes and convertibles.
As we near the end of the 2012 calendar year, we expect to see more sweet deals aimed at luring shoppers into showrooms. Though we haven't seen anything like this from Mercedes yet, the automaker has boosted incentive spending to $3,582 per vehicle, significantly higher than the industry average of $2,468.
Are offers like this enough to get you into a new car? Or are you holding out hope for even better deals? Drop us a line, or leave a comment below.