BMW predicts the end of car dealerships
A top BMW boss has predicted the end of the traditional car dealership. Although, it’s not something we can expect to see in the imminent future, head of future retail and premium retail experience, Michele Fuhs said, “nothing will happen in ten days, but I can’t tell you that automotive retail will look the same in 10-15 years.”
The comments were made at a symposium at the company’s flagship Amsterdam dealership in the Netherlands. Spokesman from a variety of different brands, as well as architects and designers, met at the gathering to discuss their thoughts about the possible future changes the automotive retail industry could expect to see over the coming years.
BMW’s current range already out scales what dealerships can currently stock, a significant increase from a few years ago when the primary offerings were the 3-Series, the 5-Series, and the 7-Series. In total, the current BMW line-up is ten times larger than it was a decade ago.
“We have to completely revolutionise our network; we can’t have 24,000 square feet in central Amsterdam,” said Fuhs.
Several possible future retail solutions were suggested and discussed, amongst them the possibility of boutique-style stores, more experience-based brands, and a mixture of physical and digital presences. No plans for a virtual showroom, similar to the ones used by Hyundai and Jaguar land Rover, were discussed however.
Subtle changes to the way BMW dealerships work will be made over the coming years, instead of sweeping large scale investment and overhaul, Fuhs said. That said, a more interactive experience of car retail will have been adopted by 2018, preceding a ‘fully experimental retail experience’ that will follow two years later.
Fuhs’s comments come in the wake of an announcement made by BMW that they are to launch a brand consultancy wing, aimed at advising other companies on their branding.