Buy a car, get a vacation
You get a discount on the car AND the vacation if you accept delivery of the vehicle in Europe. The automaker also pays the shipping costs.
This post comes from Tara Baukus Mello at partner site Bankrate.
Automakers with European delivery programs offer their cars at a 7% discount off the manufacturer's suggested retail price, or MSRP, on average, with discounts higher on certain car models.
The European vacation packages are coordinated through a travel agent at discounted rates, with some programs including perks such as free airfare and hotel stay. Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo currently offer the European delivery programs.
Here's how the programs work:
Place the order. Once you decide which new car you want to buy, visit your local dealer to have him or her order the car to your exact specifications for pickup in Europe. Pricing is arranged directly through the automaker at a discounted rate, so there is no negotiation at the dealer.
Automakers can offer their cars at discounted rates because they aren't required to charge any destination fees or incentives paid out to a dealer to make the sale. Generally, it takes a minimum of two months to build the car to exact specifications. If you want to take your European vacation sooner than that, you may need to choose from a smaller selection of new cars already scheduled to be built. Post continues after video.
Plan the trip. Once the order is placed, the automaker connects you with the travel agency that coordinates its program, and it works directly with you to plan your trip. All automakers in these programs provide car insurance for at least 14 days at no charge, as well as a range of drop-off points for your car when your vacation is complete and you are ready to return home.
Currently, BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer two-for-one pricing on airline tickets, while Volvo offers two free airline tickets. Audi, Porsche and Volvo provide one free night in a hotel, while Mercedes-Benz provides two nights in a hotel. All automakers offer various smaller perks, such as complimentary meals, airport shuttle or a borrowed navigation system for traveling in Europe.
The travel agent coordinates your entire vacation, in most cases customizing it to your interests and the length of time you desire. All hotels and many activities are booked at the travel agent's negotiated discounted rates, providing a savings over coordinating a similar trip on your own. European delivery trips with five nights of lodging start at $1,500, while a $3,000 budget will get you a longer stay in three-star hotels or five nights in five-star accommodations with many other amenities added.
Once your European vacation is complete, simply leave the new car at one of the prearranged drop-off points and fly home. The automaker takes care of all transportation costs, duty charges, clearing customs, and insurance for the shipment. The car arrives in the U.S. about two months later and you simply pick it up at your dealer.
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