In what could be considered a move supporting the ongoing transformative shift in how cars are sold, the BMW Group has announced the launch of a new direct sales model slated to roll out across Europe. The initiative kicks off on January 1, 2024, with MINI models in Italy, Poland, and Sweden.
A New Era for Retail Partners and Customers
The sales approach is innovative in that it enables customers to choose how they prefer to purchase their new BMW product, and it has garnered full approval from BMW Group’s retail partners across Europe. All European MINI retailers have inked agency contracts, demonstrating the collaborative nature of the undertaking. Under this new agency model, retailers will maintain their roles as the personal interface to customers, earning a fixed commission for each vehicle sold.
Unfurling the Sales Model Timeline
The phased rollout will continue to extend its reach across other European nations, with the BMW brand slated to adopt the new model by 2026. Notably, the new sales framework will be applicable not only to new BMW and MINI vehicles but also to nearly-new cars under the BMW Group banner.
Transparency and Digitalization: The Twin Pillars
One of the major highlights of the new sales strategy is the introduction of standard nationwide pricing. This aims to provide a clear and transparent pricing mechanism for customers. Additionally, BMW Group is doubling down on digitalization to offer customers a choice between online and in-person buying experiences. An end-to-end, integrated IT infrastructure will underpin these seamless transitions.
Echoes of MINI’s North American Boutiques
The direct sales initiative echoes MINI’s re-entry into North America in the early 2000s, when many of its stores used a boutique-style retail approach. The current agency model is essentially a post-pandemic evolution of this concept, adapting to new consumer behaviors and market conditions.
Aligning the Future of Sales
Pieter Nota, a Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brand, Sales, views this transition as a “key milestone” in the restructuring of the Sales division, initiated back in 2020. The aim, he notes, is to “increase customer satisfaction and offer the best premium customer experience in the industry.”
A Win-Win-Win Scenario
The new sales model will be advantageous for customers, retail partners, and the BMW Group itself. Retailers stand to gain a future-proof foundation, enhanced planning certainty, and full compensation for online vehicle deliveries. Meanwhile, they will also be able to focus more on offering top-notch customer consultations and care.
Immediate Availability for Pre-Orders in Selected Countries
As part of this new sales model, customers in Italy, Poland, and Sweden can now avail themselves of online pre-orders for the new all-electric MINI Cooper and the new MINI Countryman.
More areas and countries will eventually join the program. In all likelihood, the direct sales models will migrate to North America in the future.