BMW Holds Symposium About Imminent Important Changes in Automotive Retail

They haven’t decided on a direction yet, but one thing’s certain: the way cars are sold and the dealership experience are in for major changes

BMW recently organized a “future of retail” symposium at its main dealer in Amsterdam, where company officials as well as ones from other companies discussed the changes to occur in the business in the near future.

Autocar quotes the Bavarian automaker’s head of premium retail experience, Michele Fuhs, who 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 main reasons why changes are deemed necessary have to do with the increasing number of models offered, the accelerated move towards online services, as well as the widespread implementation of mobility schemes.

In BMW’s case, just a decade a go, its bread and butter models were the 3-, 5- and 7-Series, whereas now it’s all about the taller vehicle. The manufacturer’s lineup has apparently multiplied tenfold in this timeframe, all while the showroom concept has remained pretty much the same.

It’s not clear how the automaker will choose to proceed in this direction, but one thing’s clear: changes need to be implemented in order to advance and stay competitive. Even if first changes are small, Fuhs says they “have to completely revolutionise our network; we can’t have 24,000 square feet in central Amsterdam.”

BMW has already started to digitalize the user experience in its current showrooms, some of which have gained large numbers of screens and even full video walls. The automaker is also looking to meld this digitalization with sustainability techniques to produce and also help reduce electricity consumption.

Other companies are also in on the act and have proposed ideas of their own, like the partnership between Microsoft and Volvo which through the use of HoloLens is looking to create an augmented / virtual reality environment for prospective buyers. How it works is explained in the video below; it shows a possible way in which the end user experience could change.