Importance of PDI: How I was almost sold a display BMW 330Li

It was clearly a bad judgment call someone took in the spur of the moment and I am willing to look past it since they are now doing everything they can to make it right.

BHPian msnarain recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

We are looking to buy a bigger car and have been evaluating the C220d and the 330Li. We got a good deal from a BMW dealership – so we went ahead and booked a Portimao Blue 330Li. We have been having the most amazing experience throughout our journey with the showroom so far (started months ago).

The entire experience came to a rude halt when the sales person refused a yard visit for a PDI. His claim was they don’t let prospective BMW owners visit the yard anymore for PDI as the rules have changed. The reason – this dealership shares the same yard with multiple dealerships like BYD etc. On top, they insisted that BMW has stopped shipping their cars with the protective sticker/film on the roof and bonnet. He offered to have the car driven to the showroom where I could inspect the car.

I flatly refused to have the car driven around like that for a PDI.

Something felt off, and I told them I was not proceeding further without the yard visit. Finally, they owned up to the fact that the Portimao Blue 330Li they were planning to sell me is a display model from a different showroom.

And that is exactly why they were not willing to let me enter the yard. Because the car had been sitting in a showroom elsewhere with every prospective buyer getting in and out of the car, slamming the doors shut with the least care in the world.

Now, it’s perfectly normal for a dealership to offer the display car for sale, but if they had been honest about it from the start, that’s a different story.

Now, the apologetic sales person sent me his open stock list – it showed two Blue Portimao 330Lis. Upon quizzing the location of the other, he claimed both were displayed at the dealership’s different showrooms.

He then asked me if it was okay if they got me a car allotted from a different location – like Coimbatore etc. I wasn’t too keen on this – I told him I would have no idea if it was indeed a fresh car or a display car and he agreed with me. Their final reply to me was it would take 2 months to get a new Portimao Blue 330 allotted to me if I wanted a fresh car straight from the factory. I told them I was in no hurry, though I reminded them of their initial delivery promise – 1 week if the colour was in stock and 1 month if not.

The next day, I got a call from them saying a new Portimao Blue 330LI had left the factory and that they had allotted it for me. They said they will unload the car in front of me. But here’s the kicker – they still insist that BMW doesn’t ship with protective film/stickers on the roof and bonnet anymore. I asked for the manufacturing month and he said it’s August. He claims no way one can get a September-manufactured car.

I normally would not probe this much, but the initial sleight has left a sour taste in my mouth and has made me super apprehensive about their intentions. I have a strong feeling the car that is “on the way from the factory” is probably coming in from one of the dealership’s non-Chennai showrooms where it had been on display.

This has been frustrating and definitely not the experience one has to go through for a car that costs 60 lakhs ex-showroom.

I initially wanted to cancel the BMW and explore other options, but good friend and fellow Teambhpian nimishlalwani reminded me not to let a poor sales experience come in the way of driving my dream car.


Dealer invited me to the yard to see the car being unloaded. They kept the truck waiting though they could have started unloading, at least the other cars.

I have been interacting with representatives from BMW India over the last couple of days and they told me the protective sticker on top isn’t mandatory anymore – some batches have them and some don’t. They are very responsive and helpful – they asked me to give them the VIN once I see the car so they can check from their end about the car’s history.

BMW India also offered to take an official complaint against the dealership which I refused – I really like the people in the showroom – especially our sales consultant and the sales manager. The display car tactic was clearly a bad judgement call someone took in the spur of the moment and I am willing to look past it since they are now doing everything they can to make it right.

I am really happy with the way the dealership has turned things around for me. My sales person was away on personal leave, and the sales manager himself traveled all the way to the yard from the showroom for this – it’s 30 km one way across the city during evening peak hour traffic – he could have easily asked someone from the other showroom to take me to the yard.

The protective stickers weren’t there as BMW India and the dealership had told me earlier.

But everything else was there – plastics on the seats, protective stickers near the floor by the door, protective foam at the edge of the door, stickers on the screen etc. Checked the VIN and it showed Aug 22 2023 as the production date.

I feel a bit bad that I gave them a hard time, but I think I just had to be extra careful because of the initial misleading.

But I am now happy with the turn of events and I can’t wait to drive my own BMW – but sadly, this will have to wait as I have a work trip over the next two weeks.

Thank you Ashish2135 and Laks (who replied in the other thread). And once again thanks to Nimishlalwani for guiding me throughout the process and for being a sounding board and the voice of reason!

Watching the car being unloaded itself was a very therapeutic and satisfying experience!

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

To remind everyone of the importance of a PDI. I don’t buy a shirt without a PDI, a car is out of the question.

Here’s what BHPian shrinath_m2 had to say about the matter:

Your sentiments and brain are absolutely in the right places. Ultimately you are paying them in real money, not stones. So they better tell you everything up front without masking details that you ought to know. Like you said, somebody was having a bad day and made a bad call – all solved now.

Do not feel bad about giving them a hard time if they aren’t upfront. At the same time, I like that you decided to put this behind and take delivery of a fresh one.

Congrats on the purchase, and more ++ for the right mindset. Enjoy your sweet blue beemer!

Here’s what BHPian dearchichi had to say about the matter:

Just to confirm that I understand your issue, did you want to view the car being offloaded from the truck, so you know that a fresh copy is being assigned to you? Is this now the recommended precaution that every new car buyer needs to take?

If not, what is the drawback of inspecting the same car when not in the yard? Would the fact that it was a display car be less obvious when not in the yard? Would the VIN not have helped you discover its history of manufacture?

Thank you.

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