BMW And Mini Will Not Be Adopting A Direct Sales Model In The US

Industry News / 3 Comments

You'll still have to deal with dealers.

Automakers like Tesla, Lucid, and Rivian are unique not only because their vehicles are purely battery-electric but also for their direct-sales model. BMW will start doing this in Europe, but don't expect it in the USA.

Unlike legacy automakers, these three sell online to the consumer instead of using the century-old franchise method. This has been controversial, to say the least, but these EV buyers have expressed great satisfaction with the buying process. Could any legacy brands follow suit, such as BMW? Kind of.

Speaking to German publication Muenchner Merkur, BMW CFO Nicolas, Peter revealed there is a plan to switch to direct sales. "We want to give customers the opportunity to order directly from us," he said. The goal is to offer Mini vehicles directly to consumers in 2024, and BMW will follow in 2026.

2022-2023 BMW M3 Sedan Front-End View BMW 2022-2023 BMW M3 Sedan Side View BMW 2022 BMW M3 Sedan Interior Overview BMW
2022-2023 BMW M3 Sedan Front-End View
2022-2023 BMW M3 Sedan Side View
2022 BMW M3 Sedan Interior Overview

Before anyone gets too excited about not having to haggle over pricing at a dealership, Road and Track confirmed with the German automaker this plan will not apply to the US. "News reports stemming from the BMW Group Q3 global business update in Munich referred to a planned change in the retail sales model in Europe and other markets outside of the US," a spokesperson said. "Please be advised that this change applies only to the European market and other markets outside of the US and have no impact on our business model or operations here in the US."

So there it is. Because of those franchise laws, BMW could not switch to US market direct sales even if it wanted to. Remember, Tesla has never had official dealers but rather stores, sometimes located inside shopping malls.

What's more, only 35 states allow this.

2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Frontal Aspect BMW 2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Rear-Facing View BMW 2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Dashboard BMW
2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Frontal Aspect
2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Rear-Facing View
2021-2023 BMW M5 Sedan Dashboard

Texas, home of the new Gigafactory, charged (no pun intended) with building the Tesla Model Y and (eventually) the Cybertruck, only allows the carmaker to have a limited number of stores.

Tesla has fought franchise laws for years in court, and sometimes, alternative solutions were found, such as in Michigan and New Mexico. One thing is sure: legacy automakers are waking up to the fact that customer buying methods are changing rapidly, partially as a result of the pandemic.

Ford recently announced that all future EVs will have fixed prices and be sold online, leaving dealers with a choice between selling EVs or not. Those who opt out will sell combustion-powered models only. If this proves successful, we would not be surprised to see rivals follow suit, including BMW.

2023 BMW XM Driving Front Angle BMW 2023 BMW XM Driving Back View BMW 2023 BMW XM Central Console BMW
2023 BMW XM Driving Front Angle
2023 BMW XM Driving Back View
2023 BMW XM Central Console
Source Credits: Merkur.de Road And Track

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