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      04-22-2012, 12:00 PM   #2
Jason's Avatar

Drives: F80 M3
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA

iTrader: (0)


Here's another shorter guide which provides some summaries of the entire process and each step to order and delivery tracking.

We’ve been talking a lot about this for weeks, so I thought I would summarize all this information for folks that are still waiting on their cars and those that are new to M3POST.

Once you place your order and give your dealer a deposit, they can then put your configuration into the ordering system and it will give you a production number. If they were able to modify an existing order (for example change color etc.), then your car will initially show up with different options, but it will eventually change.

You can take your Production Number and go online to track your vehicle’s status. Keep in mind that this system is usually a week behind. BMW Owner’s Circle (OC) gives you very little information to simplify the waiting process (and no, we don’t like that, we like detail!) and break the order process into 5 stages:

On Order
As soon as your dealer gives you your production number, it shows up in OC as ‘On Order.’ You should also get a Production Week Number when your car will be produced. One thing to note, that when you go online right after you get your production number, the options you selected when you placed your order will not show up. In fact, it will never show up in OC, ever. The other thing, so that you don’t freak out initially, is that sometimes a dealer can modify an incoming order destined for their dealership, which ends up showing as another color under OC. However, this only takes a few days to update. For example, when I placed my order for Sparkling Graphite, it initially showed up as Alpine White with Terra Leather interior.

Scheduled For Production
Approximately three days prior to your car going into production, OC will reach this stage. The 800 automated information number is much more accurate than Owner's Circle (by two days or so), so use it with your production number to figure out what's going on with your car. The number is 1-800-831-1117; say “Vehicle Production Status” and then read out your production number. If your car production is complete, it will say “Your vehicle production is complete.” This whole stage takes a week or less.

Awaiting Transport
Your car gets loaded onto a train and is then driven to Bremerhaven, where it is unloaded and then has to wait for a ship. This is the painful part; you have no idea how many cars are ahead of yours in line to get on a ship, so you have to just keep hoping it doesn’t take too long. Mine took 8 days from production completion to getting on the ship. A ship sails every 3-4 days destined for the United States East Coast. Not sure how different things are for the West Coast.

En Route
As soon as your status changes to “In Transit” on the 800 number, or to “En Route” on the OC, check the shipping company’s website (Schedules) to figure out what ship your car is on. Or just call your dealer; they know exactly what ship your car is on, and the estimated times of when it will arrive and leave the Prep Center. The dealer has a tool that tells you everything, so leverage this to get the name of your ship so you don’t have to guess.

For east coast deliveries, the shipping company’s website (Wallenius Wilhelmsen) is They update their schedule in real-time and changes the color of the ‘stops’ to Red after the ship arrives at different ports, signifying that the ship has docked. My ship took exactly 11 days to get from Bremerhaven to New York City. Sometimes, if your ship reports its status, you can track your ship while it makes its way across the pond. Go to and search by ship name. Keep in mind that my ship never showed up, so its really luck that you may see it.

For west coast deliveries, the shipping company's website (NYK Lines) is You can also use
to track the departure of your ship from Bremerhaven to Port Hueneme. Apparently NYK Line doesn't make it easy to find your ship. After that, if you want to know when your ship is planning to dock in San Diego, San Diego Marine Information Systems will give you the arrival schedule for Port Hueneme (west coast delivery) at

At Preparation Center
Depending on how much time has lapsed between your ship docking and your car getting off the ship, it may take a while to show up at the Vehicle Preparation Center. A lot of wait times in this area is due to the number of cars ahead of yours, and the time it takes to actually wash off all the foreign soil of every vehicle that comes off the ship. Generally, this takes about 7-14 days.

At your BMW Center
Once your car reaches your dealer, they have to PDI your vehicle, which basically means remove shipping blocks, remove the plastic on the inside, check the vehicle from top to bottom, add any dealer installed options (CD Changer, Tint, Aluminum Pedals etc.) and finally, call you up to come pick up your new baby.

If you have any doubts or questions, remember, your dealer has a system that can tell you exactly where your car is, so always defer to your dealer for more information. Hope this helps.



If you are going crazy over the location of the ship that is carrying your beloved BMW, let me offer you the benefit of my pre-occupation with tracking my E92.

There are two ways that your ship can be tracked on its voyage. When it is close to shore, the AIS ( ) is in use. This an automatic system and is limited to only ships within radio range. When your ship is out in open water, you need to rely on WMO-VOS ( The problem with this system is that it is a voluntary one and not all ships participate.

Once you have determined the name of your ship there are various websites that offer you the ability to track your vessel. These sites are free and some only require you to register to get the most current updated information.

While your ship is in the North Sea, which includes the ports of Bremerhaven, Antwerp, Zeebrugge, etc., ( provides up to a 2 hour delay of your ships position. This is an AIS based website. Free registration is required for this feature.
There is another AIS website, but I will not mention that now for specific reasons which I will explain later.

After your ship leaves the North Sea on her way to the Atlantic Ocean, she passes through the English Channel. You can track her movements at which is another AIS based website. This site is free, information is real-time and does not require registration.

Once through the English Channel, your ship begins her trans-Atlantic crossing. To continue tracking, you must cross your fingers and hope that your ship is one that voluntarily participates in the WMO-VOS program. If she participates, you can track her progress at If you enter the ships name and can not pull up any reports, try entering her call sign.

This is a free site, information is usually updated 2 hours after a ship reports their position and registration is not required.

If your ship does not participate, figure that it takes 6-7 days to cross the Atlantic Ocean until you can resume tracking with the following website.

Earlier in this post I mentioned another AIS based website. It is a global AIS tracking service that provides real-time information. It can be used for ports all over the world. The reason why you should not use it from the time your ship leaves Bremerhaven is that you need to register for a free trial which gives you only 2 weeks access to the subscriber area. This is important for those whose ships are going to ports not offered to the non-registered user or their voyage is longer than 14 days.

There also seems to be a lag in the time you first register and when you get your sign-in information. Remember to completely fill in the form.