BMW was among the first automakers to (temporarily) adopt direct sales. It happened in the first half of the 2010s when the i3 and i8 hit the market. Also known as the agency model, it effectively turns an automaker into a retailer that sells cars at a fixed price. The dealer is still involved in the process and earns a commission for finalizing the transaction. The German luxury brand abandoned this strategy, but it’s coming back soon.

“We will be transitioning the BMW brand to the new direct and fully digitalized sales model in Europe from 2026, as planned.”

Speaking during the BMW Group’s General Annual Meeting this week, CEO Oliver Zipse reiterated direct sales are planned in Europe from 2026. The agency model has already been implemented for MINI in China and in several countries from the Old Continent. This strategy has been ruled out in the United States as well as in Australia.

Zipse assured dealers that BMW is not about to cut out the middleman:

“Especially for Europe, I have to stress: The retailers will remain by our side in the new sales system – that won’t change.”

Some 1,500 dealer representatives from the Old Continent attended a meeting in Amsterdam where the automaker privately unveiled future models. Chances are the next-generation X5 with its allegedly X-shaped headlights was among them.

Direct sales will be implemented across the range, not just for certain models as was the case in the past. BMW has admitted it’ll be able to cut costs with the agency model. However, it’s not the main reason for the change. It has promised the new strategy will improve the customer experience.

The agency model means there will be no room left to haggle and the implementation of fixed prices across the country. BMW is going to invoice customers directly and give retailers a fixed fee.

Source: BMW