Loved or loathed by brick-and-mortar dealers, direct sales have been in the planning stages at the BMW Group for years. However, the agency model is going to take a bit longer than planned for MINI in Germany, according to a new report from Automobilwoche. Automotive News Europe’s sister publication alleges there are some IT issues that must be ironed out first.
The insider claims that the BMW Group doesn’t necessarily see this as a major problem since it’s better to fix whatever is broken before introducing direct sales. As planned, the agency model will be rolled out on January 1, 2024, in Sweden, Poland, and Italy. Additional countries throughout Europe are going to follow, and as previously announced, direct sales are not planned for the United States or Australia. The core BMW brand will adopt this strategy on the Old Continent from 2026.
But what exactly are direct sales? As the name implies, MINI will sell cars directly to customers. There will be no room to haggle as vehicles will be available at fixed prices across the country. Dealers are still going to play a role since they’ll earn a fixed commission by finalizing the deal. How much? The BMW Group has a vague response: The value will be “carefully calculated and takes the full range of factors into account.”
The agency model will be applied across the entire lineup rather than just for select models. The reason we’re bringing this up is that some automakers have adopted direct sales strictly for their electric vehicles. Last month, BMW said traditional dealers are “actively involved” in finalizing the newly established program.
It should be noted that the BMW Group’s former sales and marketing boss Pieter Nota previously said direct sales won’t be limited to new cars but also to “young used cars.” In other words, vehicles that are 6 to 12 months old, or up to 18 months in some cases.