Pre-owned or new? Featured

11:38am EDT August 29, 2006
Everyone has heard the adage that a new vehicle begins to depreciate in value as soon as it is driven off of the showroom floor. What if you could purchase a car that looks brand new and runs so well — thanks to a 132-point inspection — that only you knew you were driving a pre-owned automobile?

“A Certified Pre-Owned BMW has a six-year or 100,000-mile BMW warranty program,” says Fred Palmer, pre-owned sales manager at Ganley BMW in Middleburg Heights. “The majority of the pre-owned vehicles in our inventory are three-year BMW lease returns, sold new and serviced by us.”

Smart Business spoke to Palmer on the cost and effectiveness of the certified BMW program.

When does the certified pre-owned warranty take effect?
The six-year time frame is based on the vehicle’s original in-service date, or 100,000 total miles on the odometer; whichever comes first. One difference between the original warranty and the certified warranty is there is a $50 deductible, per visit — not repair — on the pre-owned warranty versus no deductible on the original new car warranty.

If you were to purchase a Certified Pre-Owned BMW, the vehicle carries its original four-year, 50,000-mile original warranty, and the certified warranty covers the vehicle for an additional two years and 50,000 miles. Roadside assistance is another advantage of the certified program. Run out of gas; lock your keys in the car; need a tow to a BMW dealer — all included. In addition to all other benefits, certified BMWs purchased at a better BMW dealership may include convenient pick up and delivery or no-charge BMW courtesy cars for owners to use while they cars are being serviced.

Do maintenance packages apply to pre-owned?
Every new BMW comes with an all-inclusive free maintenance program that covers almost everything but tires. Synthetic oil changes, wiper blades, brakes and rotors are all included for four years or 50,000 miles. You can extend the maintenance program on a certified BMW to coincide with the six-year, 100,000-mile certified warranty. If you were to purchase a certified vehicle and the extended maintenance program, service visits (with the exception of tires), would be expense free.

How much does the maintenance program cost?
The maintenance program is only $995 on the 3 Series, and just $1195 on all other models. This represents a fraction of the value received over the time and term of the program.

How closely are the lease returns inspected before they are sold as pre-owned?
Every certified BMW goes through a 132-point checklist. Rigid standards are met for tire tread depth (including the spare), brake and rotor condition, plus completion of any scheduled or required maintenance.

Are the certified programs the same at all BMW dealerships across the country?
Benefits such as courtesy car service are dealer-specific, but any BMW dealership in the country will honor the warranty on your vehicle and is authorized to approve repairs without a third-party inspection required by many other warranties.

How much of a difference in price is there between a new and pre-owned BMW?
Certified BMWs provide substantial savings over the price of a brand new vehicle. Consumers can take advantage of the benefits provided by ‘less-than-new’ pricing without giving up the security of a factory warranty. Additional savings are attained when certified vehicles are financed through BMW financing at reduced rates.

Do people hold on to pre-owned longer than new vehicles?
BMW owners do tend to hold onto their vehicles longer than many other makes. We have a large number of clients, who at the end of their lease have us certify their vehicle and turn the lease into a purchase.

Are all certified programs the same?
Definitely not, the certified designation is used by almost anybody selling used cars. Consumers need to question the inspection process: what items are covered, what items are not covered, what other benefits the certification provides, and how much the deductible is.

FRED PALMER is the Pre-Owned sales manager at Ganley BMW in Middleburg Heights. Reach him at (440) 845-9333 or