A while back, Tesla came under fire when they announced that they won’t be selling their cars through traditional dealerships. Being the offspring of a man like Elon Musk, that was somewhat expected by everyone familiar with his out of the box way of thinking. And even though a lot of people frowned and got upset, the success the company recorded can’t be denied. It would seem like BMW is following suit, claiming that traditional dealerships might change their ways in the future.
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The info comes from Michele Fuhs who has been talking with Autocar at BMW’s future of retail symposium at its flagship Amsterdam dealer in the Netherlands. According to her “nothing will happen in ten days, but I can’t tell you that automotive retail will not look the same in 10-15 years.” The biggest issue dealerships are facing are rising real estate prices and the ever expanding line-up of models.
While some 10 years ago the BMW range was made up mostly of 3, 5 and 7 Series models, today it is nearly twice as varied and demands even more room to showcase all models. The fact that the statement was made in a 24,000 square feet dealership in the middle of Amsterdam does shed some light into the issue. BMW and other manufacturers will have to make sure their dealerships stay up to par with modern times and are as efficient as possible too.
And while selling the cars online exclusively might be an alternative – BMW already is selling various models on eBay and Amazon – some customers might still want a more hands on approach before purchasing, especially expensive models. For them, smaller dealerships will still be available, but only fractions of the line-up will be exposed. On the other hand, BMW might be looking into putting together virtual reality configurators that would help customers decide after entering a dealership.
At the moment BMW is already working on revamping its dealerships, imposing a rather strict code of design for them, forcing a lot of vendors to invest massively into bringing their businesses into the 21st century. The next step in this strategy will kick off in 2018 according to the Bavarian company’s head of future retail and premium retail experience, with a ‘fully experiential retail experience’ coming in 2020.