BMW Markets New Vehicle On eBay

As online auctions expand into veritable sideshows and novelty acts, BMW has placed its new sports utility vehicle on eBay in an effort to drive sales and build notoriety.

BMW’s new X5 Sports Activity Vehicle went up for auction this morning, about 42 days before the vehicle will be widely available for sale through BMW’s regular distribution channels. The auction runs through November 7th, and all proceeds from the auction will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The auction is the last, and perhaps most famous, of BMW’s 1999 events to raise money and awareness for the Komen Foundation. The fund-raising campaign has generated more than $3 million (US$) for the foundation over the past three years.

The BMW auction is a highlight for eBay’s relatively new automotive category. Launched in August, the automotive site currently has more than 2,000 cars, 10,000 parts and 7,000 motorcycles on sale.

eBay also gets a plug from the BMW site, which links visitors to the X5 auction page. BMW also provides a link to the Komen Foundation’s site, a running counter of time left to bid on the vehicle and the current bid price.

The tag was in the $67,000 range Friday morning. Bidding for the vehicle started at $1. The winning bidder must pay 10 percent of the final bid amount within 48 hours of the close of the auction to secure the bid.

The suggested retail price of the vehicle for sale on eBay is $57,105, which includes delivery and some extra features, such as an on-board navigation system and a moon roof, that are not standard on the models that will debut in showrooms later this year. Those models start at $49,970.

The auctioned vehicle also comes with a free trip to BMW’s Spartanburg, South Carolina Performance Center. The winning bidder will get an orientation to the new vehicle, a tour of the BMW manufacturing plant and a visit to the BMW Zentrum museum.

The winner will also get specialized driving instruction on the Performance Center’s paved and off-road test-drive courses.

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