The luxury brand wants to make online shopping easier for consumers
While BMW's CEO is of the opinion that electrification is not the only answer to the world's adapting mobility needs, the brand continues to increase its presence in the EV segment. Vehicles such as the BMW iX lead the charge for the company, with the Munich-based carmaker posting impressive electric car sales figures for 2021.
But as impressive as those figures were, top BMW executives want "the digital part of the customer journey" to be effortless.
Speaking with Automotive News following a meeting with dealers, BMW North America CEO Sebastian Mackensen explained what he expects: "It doesn't matter what the customer chooses as an avenue to purchase a vehicle - is it first physical, is it first online? We have to make sure if you want to purchase a BMW, you get a seamless experience from [...] the manufacturer website to a car dealer website to your final purchase."
Ensuring that dealerships treat customers well is of high importance to a prestige brand such as BMW, but that needs to be carried over to the online experience. Customers shelling out more than $80,000 for an electric SUV have every right to expect a seamless and easy-to-navigate process.
It also doesn't matter which model or drivetrain the customer selects; BMW describes its digital sales model as drivetrain-agnostic. "We are building a process that is customer-driven [...] and it doesn't matter if it's an M-car or full-electric," said executive vice president of operations, Shaun Bugbee. Regardless of whether you're purchasing a $45,000 3 Series or a top-of-the-range 7 Series, the customer needs to be satisfied.
Speaking at a dealer meeting, the brand's North America CEO applauded retailers' tenacity despite the tough situation the industry is facing, noting that the brand is doing its best to manage the crisis. "We told [dealers] that we will continue to manage through that as good as we can," said Mackensen. "Some of it you can influence, others you can't."
While the chip shortage has crippled the automotive sector, BMW has taken advantage of the situation by prioritizing high-end vehicles that return increased profits. This is not to say the brand hasn't faced its fair share of issues; previously, the carmaker has had to cut features from certain models as a result of the shortage. However, the shocking Russian invasion of Ukraine has posed further issues to carmakers across the world.
In response to that, Mackensen said, "We will work around that, and we will focus on bringing as many customers into our vehicles as possible." While Tesla has received backlash for its combination of online and direct sales, BMW's idea to provide customers with the best possible experience - whether it be online or in a dealership - will certainly help the brand cement a reputation for customer care and attention.