BMW no longer advertises interest rates, removing an important way to decide whether to buy or lease a car. According to a newsletter sent to dealers last week, the change was made in response to dealer feedback. Our analysis reveals that this is likely a way to allow dealers to mark up consumer interest rates more freely.
While it’s no secret that interest rates rise in the wake of Federal Reserve rate hikes, it’s unusual for automakers to stop advertising while there’s still promotions. In one extreme case, Toyota gave in to dealerships last year and stopped advertising rental prices in Southern California for about 6 months.
Now BMW has done the same with the prices of buying a luxury car. If you visit their website, you will no longer see BMW financing offers. Instead, the brand simply says “Attractive financing offers available,” with a prompt to contact a dealer for more information. Unfortunately, the reason for this is actually quite simple.
Based on BMW’s announcement, the change was made “based on dealer request”, adding “more ad buy rates across all models and model years”. Purchase rates are the underlying interest rates offered by lenders and which may sometimes be marked up by dealers depending on specific program rules.
It turns out that BMW is still offering interest rates as low as 3.99% APR for 60 months on more than half a dozen models: the 5 Series, the 7 Series, the 8 Series, the X5, the X6, the X7, as well as the all-new iX. Plus, you can even get the same great rate on a matching 2023 BMW, which you won’t find on a Lexus or Mercedes.
Dealer profit margins continue to persist across a wide range of vehicles as a chip shortage wreaks havoc on car prices. Besides the price markups, it can be easy to forget that dealerships can sometimes mark up interest rates as well. With BMW’s latest change, it may be harder than ever to know whether you’re getting a deal or not.
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Screenshot above taken today from BMWusa.com