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BMW investing $300 million into U.S. showrooms

BMW is taking advantage of what it predicts to be a temporary lull in new car sales by investing about $300 million into refurbishing and expanding its 338 United States showrooms. The automaker says that this latest push is on top of the $2.2 billion it has invested over the last nine years.

BMW hopes that the improved showrooms will lure more buyers and increase dealer profitability, an essential part of the customer satisfaction equation.

"Investments from our BMW dealers are proof of confidence in the future success of the BMW brand in the U.S.," Jim O'Donnell, BMW of North America president, told Automotive News.

Much of that money will go towards dealers' used car businesses in a bid to boost residual values. A glut of off-lease vehicles, combined with heavy competition from low-overhead Internet retailers, has pushed residual values down for automakers across the spectrum. BMW lost about $2 billion last year because vehicles sold for less than predicted when their leases ended.