Out-of-state lease and how to drive it back?

Guys, need help here, I have been searching a lot of forums and places but could not find a good answer for my question:

I am planning to lease a BMW in California, while I am living in Michigan. My intention is to fly there and drive the car back. But the dealer who has the best deal so far told me I must register the vehicle in California in order to drive it back. Then next month I can transfer it to MI with BMWFS.
Is this just some BS?
Is the BMW dealer in CA able to register the vehicle in MI so I can drive it home?
Or give me a temporary plate so I can drive home to register by myself?

Disclaimer 1: I am not considering shipping.
Disclaimer 2: I don’t mind driving 2000 miles because I am certain I won’t use up my lease miles.
Disclaimer 3: CA’s deal is so good that a plane ticket and driving it back is not a problem at all. In fact I would want this trip to enjoy the car.

I’m genuinely curious, how good is your deal to go through this?

It makes no sense that you’d have to register it in CA.

Also would the DMV allow you to register in California?

Right, no address no registration.

I’m sure CA has temp or in transit tags just like every other state does.

1 Like

Lol I have checked with dealers nationwide, basically CA’s deals beat all others . Plus I have been thinking about a road-trip for a while.

The dealer said I could use my friend’s address in CA to register. Anyway the whole conversation about this registration sounded really BS to me.

Sounded like I can register the car in my friend’s address there first and then transfer.

So how good is this deal?
BTW, I think CA makes you get some type of temporary permit that expires real fast so you might have to drive straight home or risk being pulled over with expired tags. Also, I bet registering in California and then transferring in Michigan is going to cost you … I wouldn’t be surprised if it cost 500+ by the time you get Michigan plates on the car.

Is that true that you can use someone else’s address? Because there are a lot of dealers on here who do CA only deals and I do have relatives there… :yum:

I almost did the same thing (CA to NV), but ended up not going through with the deal. My research showed that you absolutely do not have to register in CA. You just need to get the temp transit registration in CA to whatever state you are going to and it only lasts a short amount of time. The painful part was going to be having to potentially go to the DMV in CA to get that temp transit registration if the dealer wasn’t able to procure it themselves.

Unless CA has some oddball regulations (which may be the case…it is CA…Lol)…Pretty much any dealer that wants to can register the car for you in another state. Some dealers simply will only do deals in their own home state however. If the dealer does do out of state registrations, they will most certainly have a relationship with a “tag runner” in whatever state you are in and that person handles the registration on your behalf (usually with some simple power of attorney documents). It is usually very easy.

Also, some states do not offer (or allow out if state) temporary tags.

Best, 2nd and 3rd best deals are there…And then others like at least $3K higher in overall lease cost.


This talks about the types of temp permits from CA.

thats 2500 miles one way, it would be better to just ship it, one that’s an insane amount of miles to drive (35 hrs) and second you are going to waste any potential savings with a higher mileage to balance off, unless you don’t even drive 10k miles a year. Either way shipping is a more cost and time effective way of moving the car, you can still fly out there and plus you should be able to get rid of having to deal with the dmv if it’s being shipped.

Oh and if you register in california and then go to register in michigan you may be subject to transfer tax.

Which BMW is this anyway? It seems a little odd based on the activity here that a CA dealer is leaps and bounds better than anyone else in the country, particularly all the east coast deals we see. Are you sure that the incentives being applied are correct, or that the sales price being quoted doesn’t include CA specific incentives baked in, particularly on something that’s got electric incentives? I’d just make sure all my ducks are in a row before I go so far out of my way to pick something up. If they wont help you with temp tags, etc it’s quite possible that they don’t know what incentives apply to your region, or maybe that’s why the idea of using a CA address appears to have been floated by someone at some point.

1 Like

This doesn’t sound right. The dealer should provide you with temp California plates while you deal with the registration in Michigan.

Also curious as to what type of deal you got :slight_smile:

It’s definitely a better deal, it’s so good that it can’t be posted


Thank you everyone, I do appreciate all the help and information here. I did not pull the trigger yet but I will definitely share the deal when it is finalized.

CA dealers (the lazy ones) want to register the vehicle in CA if wheels touch the ground in California. However, you can get around registration (upwards of $600 on a new BMW) by :

A: having the car shipped. The bill of lading provided by the trucking company works around registration
B: requesting a ONEWAY trip permit from the dealer. They slap it on your windshield, fill out the date and info and boom, you are on your way. ($45-ish).

To register the car in your home state, you will most likely need:

  1. Proof of purchase (contract)
  2. Original Odomoter statement (this is form 227 in CA)
  3. MSO (this is a pre-title that the dealer gets before registering and titling a vehicle)
    Please check your state’s requirements on what they need before you leave CA for a better experience.

Excellent first post!


You can register at my address and get loyalty. DAS 500 :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: