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Specs, history, pros/cons, and stories about my own 330i.
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I created this page to let people keep track of where their vehicle is in the production sequence. This also
gives future buyers an idea of how long the production of an ordered 3 Series typically takes. The numbers
in paratheses are the Production Status Codes.
The dates in WHITE were for my 2004 ZHP 330i Sedan.
The dates in YELLOW are for my 2008 335i Coupe.
Here is the journey of my 335i from ordering to delivery:
|(111) ORDER RECEIVED AT BMW AG|
My order was placed by changing an existing dealer order. A completely new order would take
approximately 1-2 days to reach this point from Status 097.
|(112) SCHEDULED FOR PRODUCTION|
The order is sent to the factory where it is decided where and when the specific model and options can be scheduled.
At this point, only an estimated production date has been selected. Part inventories are verified and
constraints are dealt with. Once you reach Status 112, you cannot make changes to the order.
|(150) PRODUCTION STARTED|
The bare chassis has been selected and a specific production completion date has also been set. Mine was March 15th, 2004.
If you are tracking via OWNER'S CIRCLE, then this is where the "SCHEDULED FOR PRODUCTION"
status takes place.
|(151) BODY SHOP STARTED|
The construction has begun! The chassis is given a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and the car's body shell is pre-assembled.
Doors, trunk, and hood are attached and checked for clearances in preparation of painting.
|(152) PAINT SHOP STARTED|
The car's body shell is sprayed and dipped in solvents (to clean it) and sent to the robotic paint
booth. The complete body is painted all at once so every body panel color matches precisely.
Then off to a drying center where the paint is baked and cured. Then it is hand cleaned and wiped.
Paint thicknesses are checked and the VIN is engraved into the body.
|(153) ASSEMBLY STARTED|
The freshly painted body is brought to Assembly where the doors are removed temporarily while interior pieces,
wiring harnesses, windows, and exterior trim (like the Roundel) are all installed. The doors go back on, then
the body is brought to the pre-assembled drivetrain and all engine/driveline connections and suspension are attached.
Fluids, wheels & tires, and bumpers are added. When assembly is complete, the car is test run, all functions checked, and tested on a dyno.
|(155) ASSEMBLY FINISH/QUALITY CHECK|
Self-explanatory! The car's production has been completed and has passed all quality tests!
|(160) RELEASED TO SALES/DISTRIBUTION|
The car is now prepped for the trip from the plant (in my case, a 300 mile trip north from Munich) to Bremerhaven for export.
|(182) RELEASED TO CARRIER|
The trucking carrier has taken responsibility for the car and assigned the car to a specific trucking load.
Owner's Circle would show the "AWAITING TRANSPORTATION" status at this point.
|(190) DISPATCHED FROM BMW AG|
The car has left the factory for it's trip to the port of exit and to get assigned to a shipping carrier.
|(193) ARRIVED AT PORT OF EXIT|
The car has arrived at Bremerhaven for transfer to the shipping carrier (in my case NYK) for the trip across the
Atlantic Ocean. It can be a 3-10 day wait at this point depending on shipping schedules and the amount of cars ahead of you waiting to ship.
|(195) SHIPPED FROM PORT OF EXIT|
It is on the water! This is the longest portion of the ordering wait time. It takes roughly 26-28 days to
transport the car across the Atlantic to the west coast. The east coast gets their cars a little sooner
(13-18 days from Germany departure). The west coast requires a trip down through the Panama Canal. Owner's Circle
would now change to "EN ROUTE" for the current status. As far as I found, BMW uses either W&W (Wallenius Wilhelmsen) or NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha)
to ship their cars to the US. After a couple of days from this point, you should be able to track your car's ship using
W&W CARGO TRACKING.
Simply select "Auto Cargo" and then enter your VIN like I did with my 335i. If the VIN doesn't appear in a day or two,
the car may have been bumped to the next ship or it is being shipped on another carrier (NYK, which my ZHP was shipped with,
doesn't provide tracking information).
|(196) SHIPMENT ARRIVAL|
The VPC (Vehicle Preparation Center) for the west coast is located in Port Hueneme, California. The east coast locations are in Port Jersey, New
Jersey and Charleston, South Carolina. The VPCs are where the vehicle is offloaded and inspected for damage and cleaned.
BMWs are shipped with a layer of protective Cosmoline and a machine called a Hohmeire (basically a big car wash)
cleans off the waxy protectant. Side note: BMW separates the wax from the wash runoff water and reuses it. Corporate recycling in action!
Anyhow, to continue, small option items are usually installed here such as floormats and CD Changers. Also, if any body damage is
found (from scratches to crushed panels), the VPC has a full factory BMW body shop to make all necessary repairs/replacements. Otherwise, if all is
well, it is loaded aboard a protected truck or railcar and sent off to the dealer.
Via train or truck, it is now headed either to a market area distribution center or directly to the dealer.
|ARRIVED AT DEALER|
The dealership will accept the vehicle, remove shipping film, and clean it. Then comes a full tank of gas and a
phone call to the owner.
Time to go get it! Fill out the various paperwork and prepare to drive your baby home. Personally, I don't have
the need for the sales staff to walk me through the vehicle as I usually know much more about them than they do, but
if you are new to BMW or the 3 Series, I highly recommend it. It is a nice touch.
You thought the ordering wait was bad. Now get the vehicle and drive it like a slow-poke for 1200 miles?? Yes, this
really is important. Vary your speeds, keep it under 100 and don't floor it. Brakes are the same way, be nice to them.
Everything will last longer if you treat your car nice in the beginning. It's torture, but worth it since these engines
don't really come to life until 30,000 miles or so. Enjoy!