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Friday Mailbag: BMW Allocations, and tips from AMMO NYC

My inbox has been flooding, thank you for all the questions! This week, it’s a question on BMW allocations, and a special tip from AMMO NYC. Happy Friday!

If you’d like to participate, drop me a question at mike@machineswithsouls.com. And don’t worry, you’ll remain anonymous.

This week’s (first) question

Can someone determine how many BMW allocations a dealer is getting for i4s?

– Bob

Answer

You’d like to think that simply walking into a car dealership and writing a check for a car, whether driving off the lot in it or placing an order, would be a simple affair. It isn’t, especially over the last few years.

In general, BMW determines allocations by sales volume, and it can depend on what they sell. If they turn over a lot of X5s and M cars, BMW will give them more allocations for those models. Popular models like the new M240i are going to be in higher demand across the dealer network. Dealers will want those slots, especially when a model is first released, because they know it will sell.

Sometimes a dealer can turn one model’s allocation into another. Maybe all they have left is a slot for an X3 that month, but you want an X4. They might be able to change it, so be sure to ask.

Now the i4, which has a lot going for it; It’s new and electric. Because it’s a new model with no sales data, BMW will use other metrics to determine allocations, such as M sales volume, the amount of incentives a dealer gives out, and what else they may have already placed orders for in the past. In this case, BMW has split the model allocations, and unless something has changed, you can’t swap an M50 for an eDrive40. I’m assuming you’ve built your own on BMW’s website, and a quick search around me revealed a single eDrive i4 up for grabs. Slim picking indeed.

BMW i4
There’s just a single i4 available within 100 miles of me.

Sometimes dealers will simply tell you what allocations they have available, other times they can shoo you away. If that’s the case, move on, as they are likely just looking for a higher markup. But it’s best to work with dealers you have an established relationship with. How many allocations a dealer has is usually kept close to the vest – they’d rather you not go anywhere else. You’d be surprised how often people go in looking for one car, but come out with another because it’s on the lot and offers instant gratification. Patience will pay off.

There are horror stories. You find an allocation and put a down payment, only for the dealer to turn around and sell your car to someone else once it comes in (for a substantial markup). I once had a guy sit inside my mom’s new X5 as she was signing the paperwork. The sharks are always circling, someone always willing to pay more, and a dealer willing to entertain them.

Or perhaps you want to order a base i4 M50. The dealer has two slots available, and they know they can sell two fully loaded cars, so that’s what they order. If you don’t want it, tough noogies, or so goes their thought process. It could even come down to your trade-in. If it’s highly desirable, they might want it sooner and will give you a slot.

If you can’t find one locally, broaden your horizons and call other dealers around the country. I’ve done deals over email or the phone. Ask current owners on Bimmerpost. Or use a buyer service like Automatch to help you find what you’re looking for. Finally, keep in mind that even if you do find an allocation, wait times are long. More information on purchasing and tracking your BMW can be found here.

Good luck!

BMW i4
Never settle. The payments remain long after the lust has faded.

This week’s (second) question

I love the work you’ve done with Larry over at AMMO (Thank you! – Mike), and I was wondering if he’s ever shared any secret tips, thanks!

– Robin

Answer

Larry has always been a big inspiration, and one of the things that’s drawn me to him was that he has always been open about his process. His mentality is simple: He’s so good that even if he shows you how to do it step-by-step, it’ll still take a ton of work to achieve at that level.

But, I can share something that he first pointed out, and now I can’t help but notice. The next time you’re at a car show, walk around and see just how many people are rubbing their dusty, dirty cars down with spray wax. It’s the worst thing you could do. Might as well rub it with a Brillo pad.

Even if you washed the car the night before and just drove it to the show that morning, it’s already too dirty to just wipe down. This is where a majority of swirl marks come from, grinding all that dust into the paint.

Instead, grab Frothe, which is like shaving cream for your car. I’ve used a lot and there’s nothing else like it.

Frothe sprayer
Frothe uses an aerator to spray the foam on the car.
AMMO Frothe
Then, you sort of scoop up the dirt with a microfiber towel. It’s safe, easy, portable, and painless.

This is super safe and makes it easy to wipe the car down anywhere. After the dirt is gone, then you can spray wax until the paint is reflecting the surface of Mars.

If you see my M3 out and about, I invite you to look up close at the paint (don’t breathe on it though). No swirl marks, despite 7,500 miles and no PPF. This is the way.

So please, don’t wipe down your ride with spray wax at the show anymore unless it’s with Frothe. I promise, it still looks good.

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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.

Email me at mike@machineswithsouls.com with any questions. Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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