Cutting the middleman gives the automaker more control in terms of pricing and better chances of earning a higher profit from the sale. Tesla has been doing it for years, with EV newcomers such as Rivian and Lucid having similar approaches. But what about legacy automakers? Well, it’s bound to happen sooner or later as several companies – including Mercedes – have also signaled their intentions of providing their clients with a more straightforward method of purchasing cars.
Archrival BMW will be doing the same, from 2026. In an interview with the German Bavarian daily subscription newspaper Münchner Merkur, CFO Nicolas Peter announced a direct sales program will come into effect from 2026 as BMW wants to “give customers the opportunity to order directly from us.” However, a spokesperson for the luxury brand clarified in an interview with Road and Track that direct sales are not coming to the United States.
BMW’s plan is to offer direct sales in Europe and other markets outside of the US. That makes sense since there are many legal hurdles in North America an automaker must face. As a matter of fact, many states have instituted outright bans on direct sales, which would obviously hinder the program’s success in the country.
The business model will be initially implemented by MINI as early as 2024, two years before the core brand. In the meantime, BMW has opened a showroom in Australia carrying the latest retail Corporate identity. In the United States, the Retail Next Concept will be initially rolled out to 25 dealers, with almost a third of US stores to be fully renovated in the following years. Traditional dealerships are not going anywhere for the time being, but the BMW Group will begin to experiment with direct sales in a couple of years.
Source: Road and Track, Münchner Merkur, Reuters