If you’ve been keeping a close eye on regional special editions launched by BMW, you have probably noticed a pattern. The vast majority of such vehicles are available to order exclusively online. Take for example the i7 First Edition pictured here as the electric sedan can be acquired in Japan only through the web shop.

In most cases, you’re not limited to certain versions of a car as BMW will happily sell you a normal model as well. These are stepping stones toward a greater goal the company hopes to achieve by the middle of the decade. Speaking with Forbes senior contributor John Koetsier on his TechFirst podcast, the automaker’s senior VP Jens Thiemer made an interesting disclosure.

In just three years’ time, BMW believes 25% of its customers will purchase a car by simply doing a few mouse clicks. He went on to say that even though car shopping is gradually moving online, traditional dealers are still important. After all, having physical locations is the only way a potential customer can truly get acquainted with a car.

Those willing to step out of their comfort zones will be able to take virtual test drives. How will that work? Apparently, the car shopping experience could extend into the metaverse. Actual dealerships will still play a role in the new digital era since there’s “still need — for a perfect customer journey — those touch points.”

Thiemer also touched on having fixed prices with no room to haggle and selling cars with features available through a subscription. Active cruise control was used as an example of a function a BMW owner can unlock when necessary, without having to pay for it at the time of purchase. It goes without saying that allowing customers to add features post-purchase will create a new revenue stream.

You can listen to the full 25-minute podcast below.

Source: John Koetsier / YouTube via Forbes