2011 BMW 5 Series GT

Getting ready to buy a new family car? If it’s a European brand, why buy it in the U.S. when you could go pick it up in Europe for the same cost? This is the idea behind the overseas delivery programs currently offered by Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, BMW and Porsche. You pick out the car you want (at the dealer or online), order it and fly to Germany or Sweden to take possession. There are extra incentives that make it a great option for your next memorable family vacation.



So you’ve decided on the Q5 to please the whole family and decide why not go pick it up in Germany? You buy your plane tickets to Munich, where a chauffeured car picks you up and takes you to the Forum Ingolstadt. There you’ll see your car, have a factory tour and eat your included meals at the Forum Restaurant, then enjoy a complimentary night’s hotel stay. And of course, rather than paying for a rental car, you hit the autobahn (at any speed you like) in your new Audi. Included are 15 days of insurance and registration and the vehicle’s shipping cost to the U.S. (shipping takes eight to 10 weeks). The Q5 qualifies for a discount of up to 5 percent MSRP for purchasing it this way. (Note that German law requires a child safety seat for any child under than the age of 12.)

See Audi's European Delivery Program.



The entire family will love the interior space and large backseat in the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo; but what will set their hearts aflutter for years to come is going to Germany to pick it up. Aside from a lower-than-usual price tag for the car (which may subsidize the rest of the vacation expenses), you get two-for-one airline tickets on Lufthansa and a tour of the BMW museum and factory. At the Welt (which is like the Disneyland of the car world), where you pick up the car, there’s a junior campus full of activities for kids. For the drive, you can take one of the planned itineraries (like Castles and Mozart or The Black Forest tour) or just use the navigation to hit the highlights. Drop the car in one of six countries and expect it to arrive stateside in six to 10 weeks.

See BMW's European Delivery Program.



Thanks to the space and safety features, both the GLK350 and E350 4MATIC Wagon are excellent choices for family cars. By buying it through the European delivery program, you can save 7 percent off the total vehicle price. Plus, you get two-for-one tickets on Lufthansa, hotel for two nights at one of 14 luxury hotels, access to the travel concierge to help with trip logistics, a meal at the Sindelfingen Delivery Center restaurant, a ride from the airport to the factory, two museum tickets and a full tank of gas. When it comes time to plan where to drive, you can either go on your own or choose from optional packages like the Alps Rally package, the Alps Castle Route package or the Spa package. Leave the car at one of 12 drop-off points (in the main Western European cities) and pick your Mercedes up at your local dealer six to 10 weeks later.

See Mercedes-Benz's European Delivery Program.



If you’re going to splurge on a Cayenne, why not take the family to Germany to pick it up? Fly to Leipzig airport, where a complimentary cab awaits to take you to the factory to pick up your car. Enjoy a gratis lunch in the V.I.P. dining room, then tour the state-of-the-art factory and the exclusive Porsche Boutique. (Leipzig is the birthplace of the Cayenne, but you can opt to pick up your car at the Zuffenhausen factory instead.) A hotel is included for the first night, so get the troops well rested before heading out on the autobahn. The Porsche Travel Club can assist with planning an itinerary. The car is insured for 16 days and you can return it at a Porsche factory or one of 18 other cities (for a nominal fee) before it’s given one last check-up and shipped to the U.S.

See Porsche's European Delivery Program.



Say you’re in the market for a XC60 or XC90 (or any other Volvo for that matter), you can buy it at the dealership and take the family to Sweden for a memorable vacation. First of all, you get two free plane tickets on Scandinavian Airlines and a free night at a hotel in Gothenburg, the home of Volvo (or three nights if you’re a current Volvo owner). Then tour the factory and the museum, enjoy a free meatball lunch, and take possession of your car with 15 days insurance coverage and a temporary European registration (an extension can be added at a reasonable rate). Then hit the road to nearby Denmark and drive through mainland Europe. Return your car to Sweden and expect it stateside six to eight weeks later. An added bonus: you save about 10 percent off the MSRP when you buy your Volvo this way.

See Volvo's European Delivery Program.

author photo

Meg Hemphill is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle writer who covers the good life: style, food, automotive, travel and entertainment. When it comes to cars, it is less about the nuts and bolts and more about the aesthetic, luxury and occasional practicality. A former editor at InStyle, she writes for the Huffington Post and a variety of other publications.

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