With the launch of the new i sub-brand, BMW plans to revolutionize the process of selling car. According to Tim Abbott, BMW UK Managing Director, the company aims to move away from the traditional way of selling cars.
‘I don’t think the car industry has changed very much at all in the last 30 years,’ he told Car Dealer. Abbot t also adds that ‘electric vehicles give us an opportunity to look at the way we sell cars and do it completely differently.’
The first i model will be launched in 2013 under the i3 badge, followed a year later by the i8 performance hybrid.
Abbott also hints are some changes in the way test drives are performed and the flexibility that should come with this. ‘Well, I think we need to fit around what the customer wants more, not what we think they want,’ explained Abbott. ‘So if the customer wants to test drive their car at 8pm on a Friday evening we need to facilitate that and take the car to them.”
BMW intends to build a mobile sales force for the i sub-brand, as well as becoming more involved on the internet. Future online car sales for BMW? Abbott certainly hopes so.
‘I can see us having a mobile sales force for the i brand. We’d utilise the internet more too. That could even stretch to selling cars online, with the back up of our existing dealers of course. eBay manages it, so why can’t manufacturers sell cars online too?’
Furthermore, BMW believes that the usual three year buying cycle might change with the introduction of electric cars. The UK boss revealed his team is working on a similar concept to Peugeot’s Mu scheme which will allow customers to chop and change their cars to suit their needs whenever they want.
‘There’s certainly scope for a similar scheme,’ he said. ‘Allowing customers to use an electric car during the week to get to work and, say, a diesel 5 Series at the weekend to get away to the country would be popular.
‘I can see a concept where people pay a monthly subscription which covers road tax and insurance on all the models. They could then use an electric bike, one of our new scooters, a motorbike, an electric car or a normal car. It’s a concept we are looking at for the UK.
‘If you order with Next before 9pm you can have your products the next day. There’s no reason why you couldn’t order a car swap and have it on your drive the next morning. We just need to work out how that would work and if it would suit customers. I think the future is going to be more about mobility than outright purchase.’
Is this the future for BMW? And more importantly, will traditional dealerships embrace the “new world” of buying and selling things?[Source: CarDealer ]