Good idea or bad idea?
One of the worst-kept secrets in the auto industry is that BMW feels wildly jealous of Tesla and its success in the EV segment of the market. Some inside the German automaker feel the way to beat the American company is to become more like it. Considering it’s working to sell cars directly to consumers, cutting out dealerships, it sounds like that camp might be winning inside the halls of BMW.
Read why BMW believes supply chains are stabilizing here.
In an interview with German newspaper Muenchner Merkur, BMW CFO Nicolas Peter said his desire was to give “customers the opportunity to order directly from us.” This isn’t exactly the kind of thing which will make dealers happy, so we sure hope there’s a plan to address their grievances.
Before just diving right into a direct sales model like what Tesla has, BMW will try things out with the Mini brand starting in 2024. If that works, the plan is to do the same with BMW in 2026. In the meantime, the Bavarians are in “constructive talks” with dealer networks, a characterization we wonder if the other side would agree with.
Exactly how the direct sales model would work and what it would mean for dealers remains a mystery, for now. Some in the auto industry have theorized for years that Tesla’s way of selling cars would be the future, fundamentally changing the role of dealers.
Such a move would also mean significant changes for car shoppers. Depending on how automakers do things, there might be no haggling but instead everyone gets to pay the same bloated price, which apparently is an introvert’s dream come true.
It’s unclear if test drives would still be conducted through dealerships as well as customer deliveries, or if automakers like BMW would copy Tesla and put stores in malls and other locations. One thing is for sure, the shape of the auto industry is changing in fundamental ways, creating plenty of uncertainty about the future.
Images via BMW, Tesla