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What is BMW Individual Manufaktur?

Employee installing BMW Individual paneling into 7-Series

BMW Individual Manufaktur, or BMW Individual as it is more commonly referred  is an exclusive special order program where you can you can make any one-off request for the customization of your BMW order including spectacular paint colors and finishes, special leathers, stitching, hardware and door sills, custom headliners, embroidered seating and anything that you can imagine.  While many people are familiar that the program exists, few understand how to go about the process and the extent of possibilities.

BMW Individual Night Sky Edition M850i
BMW Individual Night Sky Edition M850i

According to BMW, meticulous precision and masterful craftsmanship are combined to honor the most unusual customer wishes as long as they are not contrary to safety regulations, the brand character, or legal requirements. The BMW Individual “Manufactory” offers customers the possibility to be their own “designer” able to rely on a team of BMW specialists offering support and advice with configuring your BMW. The result will be a genuine one-off that reflects your individual character in a most unique way.

Frankly, many customers only seek a special paint color or trim deviations, however, so much more is actually possible!

What is the History of BMW Individual?

BMW Individual was started back in 1991 as an enhancement to the M-car program in Germany offering customers the ability to further customize their top of the line BMW’s in a more personal way.  It was not until 2007 that BMW Individual was introduced in the United States.  At that time, the 7-Series program was first to offer added levels of unique customization through the BMW Individual program.  The program is very popular among the M-car and 7 and 8 series customers who are more likely to have the time and funds available for this adventure.

BMW Individual M4 Yellow - Visualizer Output

The BMW Individual program has since expanded in two directions – one where unique and limited BMW Individual editions of various upper-end models are offered (sometimes referred to as “BMW Individual Custom”), and the other where customers may hand select all aspects of their BMW – referred to as “BMW Individual Manufaktur”.

What kind of Customization is possible for BMW Individual Manufaktur?

There is a choice of more than 100 colors for the exterior alone. But customers are also able to propose a color of their own or choose a handcrafted leather line for the vehicle. Paint finishes include uni, metallic or pearlescent finish, high gloss or matte.

BMW Individual Monogrammed HeadrestThe interior of your BMW is another key area for individualization, as this is where have the most intensive contact with your vehicle. Via the BMW Individual Manufactory, you are able to adapt any equipment feature from BMW Individual even more precisely to your own preferences. Besides individualization, customers frequently personalize their vehicle with initials or logos on interior trims and doorsills, headrests or sun blinds.

Visit the sections below for more detail on BMW Individual Manufaktur.

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What other kinds of requests can you make for BMW Individual Manufaktur?

BMW Individual M760i Special Swan Edition

If special paint colors and leather is not Individual enough, it is also possible to use materials supplied by the customers themselves. For example, wood from one of their own trees or a salmon skin in the shape of interior trims can also be fitted to the car’s interior.  No, Really!  BMW Individual Manufactory experts have the experience and know-how to realize virtually any desired equipment option. The vehicles resulting from this are not only flagships, but also vividly demonstrate BMW Individual Manufactory’s remarkable capabilities.

BMW Individual Custom EmbroideryThe BMW Individual Manufactory helps customers within a creative atmosphere to redefine the framework of exclusiveness and to push the boundaries of what is possible. The result is always the benchmark and inspiration for customers and BMW developers alike. The special models and one-offs created in this way embody the character of BMW Individual.  In other words, the sky is the limit if you have the budget!

Important Consideration: For the U.S., any request that you make for your BMW Individual order must be “approved” by your dealer, and then both BMW NA and BMW AG.  If you have a very unusual request, it may be more difficult to find a selling dealer willing to take a risk on ordering a car for you unless you already have a relationship with them.  In many states, dealers cannot keep deposits should you decline to take the customized car when it arrives, and this may be factored into their willingness to order a BMW Individual car for you.  If you are creating a car that would “sell in a minute” on a dealer’s lot you will find more success with willing dealers.  If you are choosing odd colors with non-complimentary interior combinations a dealer may be less willing.

How to start a BMW Individual Manufaktur Order?

New BMW M2 Competition

The dialog begins with your dealer.  It may involve talking to a few people at the dealership as some of the less experienced sales advisors may not have familiarity or experience with the BMW Individual program.  The dealership BMW Genius, or the Sales Manager should be able to align you with a knowledgeable sales advisor.  It is important that you are having a conversation with somebody who understands BMW Individual, as this is a high-spec custom order and not just a regular factory order.

Test your ideas out with the Visualizer.  BMW Individual Visualizer Paint Color selectionBMW Individual offers a “Visualizer” configurator which allows you to further customize most of the available BMW models.  This visualizer focuses on paintwork, special wheels, interior and exterior customizations whereas the standard Build-a-BMW Configurator focuses on standard colors, wheels and option packages.  You will ultimately want to spend time with both the Visualizer and Configurator.  When you complete a car with the BMW Individual Visualizer, you are provided with an alpha-numeric code that you may provide to your BMW dealer.  This will help them communicate your desires to the BMW Individual project team at BMW North America who will in turn forward your query to BMW AG in Munich.

You can also just walk in with your ideas – which can be as simple as “I want a yellow car with yellow stitching on black seats” to which they will work with you to visualize a car and request next steps from BMW NA.   It would be a good idea to spend time with the standard Build a BMW Configurator to know which basic options and features you wish to include on your BMW, as that will ultimately be harmonized with your BMW Individual customizations.

How can I see BMW Individual Colors and Options in person?

BMW Individual Manufaktur Paint Sample from the VisualizerIt can be difficult if you are envisioning colors and leathers that are not on view at your local dealer.  Aside from the Visualizer, the best way to do this – warning, it includes a trip to the Mothership – is to visit the BMW Individual Lounge at the BMW Welt in Munich.  There, you can book a free one-on-one appointment with a BMW “Genius” who can show you colored samples and leathers that you can touch, and also has the best tools to help you compose the car of your dreams.  It would be best to book your appointment in advance of any trip.  You will come away well versed in the possibilities which may help you better “speak the language” of customization for BMW Individual when you start working with your dealer.  BMW Factory tours are also an excellent way to see cars rolling down the line in a variety of colors.  Both options are highly recommended!

Sometimes, your dealer may find your desired color on a car sitting in inventory at another dealer in the region and you would need to do the legwork to go and see it.  Color viewing can be one of the more challenging tasks as many a BMW lover has driven themselves crazy trying to envision a color that they have not seen in person and yet know that it will look “just right” for their selected model.

Visualizer Examples and Resources:

 

BMW Individual SPECIAL Paint Colors
BMW Individual SPECIAL Paint Colors

 

BMW Individual Manufaktur SERIAL Paint Options
BMW Individual Manufaktur SERIAL Paint Colors

 

BMW Individual Manufaktur Paint Book
BMW Individual Manufaktur Paint Book (PDF – link to Bimmerpost.com)

 

BMW Individual Manufaktur Visualizer PDF Output Sample
BMW Individual Manufaktur Visualizer PDF Output Sample

How much does BMW Individual Cost?

BMW Individual Manufaktur 750Li Special Interior

Cost is only determined after you make a request for your customizations.  If you are making standard requests such as non-standard paint color or finish, or special interior combination, this information may come back relatively quick.  If you are requesting hand painted components, or a center console made from a tree in your yard or other such imaginative requests, expect this process to take some time.   Even a simple custom paint color selection may vary from around $2,000 to almost $10,000 depending on your exact selection.

BMW 750Li Special Leather Seat ProductionYou may wish to ask for a line item break down from your dealer so that you can select certain customizations or otherwise narrow down your final list if the pricing is more than you wish to pay.  The BMW Individual program primary objective is to deliver exactly what you wish and that is sometimes contrary to any consideration of cost.  Do not be put off by this, but don’t fall off your chair when the dealer presents you with the price!  It will cost you nothing to ask.  However, it can take a while for information to flow in and back out from the BMW Individual team depending on your request. 

How long does a BMW Individual order take?

Employees installing Specially Painted Facia

This is largely dependent on the car model you are selecting and the individualizations you are proposing.  A simple paint color change or seat stitching deviation can happen far quicker than custom woodwork, etc.  A timeframe of 3 to 6 to even 10 months from request to delivery is possible depending on what you have requested.  A paint color deviation may not add much additional time to a standard factory order, however this is fully determined by BMW AG in Munich and may also vary at different times of the model year.

BMW Individual Manufaktur Meticulous Leather CraftsmanshipFirstly, your selected dealer must have the model you wish available for order in their allocation of cars.  If you are after a popular M-car, for example, this could involve months of waiting (depending on the dealer and market) before an allocation slot becomes available for your order to be put into the system.

Secondly, there will be a lot of dialog and e-mail back and forth between your dealer and BMW of North America, and also between BMW North America and BMW AG in Munich – all of which takes time.   This part of the process can, however, be taking place simultaneously while you are waiting your dealer allocation slot.

Selecting the Right Dealer for a BMW Manufaktur Order

BMW Genius Helps Customer with BMW Individual Selections

Dealer selection is very important, and you may also find less willingness to discount BMW Individual orders as they are higher-maintenance orders and can require much more dealer time and attention to ensure that what you ordered is exactly what gets delivered.  Just as you want to work with a reliable dealer, dealers want to work with reliable customers as they could be stuck with a car that you are able (in most states) to decline up to the day you are supposed to drive if off the lot.  If you have purchased a BMW in the past, it may make sense to visit that dealership first as you will have history with them.

BMW Individual is more popular than you might think!

BMW Customer Taking European Delivery at BMW WeltBMW Individual Manufaktur produces around 20,000 vehicles each year for delivery around the globe, yet it’s not as frequently used in the United States.  It’s good to know that you can get tweaks both minor and major to make your new BMW a true one-of-a-kind.  Some dealers don’t promote it because BMW Individual Manufaktur is a specialty and requires precise effort to make things happen. 

Consider a European Delivery for your BMW Individual Order

BMW 3 Series Driving on German roadway

If your car is anything other than an X3,4,5,6,7 or i3 model, why not pick your new BMW up at the Factory in Munich and make a fabulous holiday out of it?  It is completely possible (at no additional cost) to combine a BMW Individual Manufaktur order with the BMW European Delivery Program. 

If you do pick your car up in Germany, consider visiting the factory where your car was built.  BMW Group offers factory tours in 6 German cities including the BMW Munich Plant.

Additional lead time is required for BMW Individual Manufaktur orders to be coordinated for European Delivery with the minimum suggested lead time being 3 months (or more depending on the level of customizations ordered).  Begin the conversation early with your dealer if you would like to participate.  Performance Center Delivery in Spartanburg is also an option on all models.

BMW Employee Installs Custom Trim

The BMW Special Sales Team at BMW of North America can answer questions about BMW Individual Manufaktur and will also be the team that will liaise with your dealer and BMW AG in Munich.  They can be a good resource for guidance or insights on a customization request and potential timing.  

BMW North America

BMW Welt – Munich, Germany

  • Genius Appointments for the BMW Individual Lounge: info@bmw-welt.com
  • BMW Welt Info Line Phone: +44 (0) 89 1250 16001

Contact a Local BMW Dealer (via BMW NA Website)

Summary

BMW Individual Vehicle rear view
All Photos Courtesy of BMW AG

BMW Individual Manufaktur is the proverbial cherry on your BMW cake and gives you unlimited opportunity to reward or express yourself with a unique one-of-a-kind BMW that also projects the quality and craftsmanship of the BMW brand.  It requires your involvement in addition to a deeper pocket, but your pride and joy will be your reward! – JK

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