BMW and Ford branch out with new sales partnerships

26 March 2018

26 March 2018

German supermarket chain Lidl is poised to sell vehicles alongside regular household groceries in the future, according to reports in the country.

Around 10,000 BMW and 4,000 Audi models will be sold through the company, with the Schwarz Group, which owns Lidl and hypermarket chain Kaufland, rearranging the handling of company cars. However, going forward, the chain will exclusively sell BMW models.

The plan for the company is to lease these vehicles as company cars for Lidl employees, before selling them through the supermarket chain after six months, renewing the fleet at the same time. Schwarz has secured a deal that sees a 48-50% discount on the list price of the 10,000 cars, while Audi was only prepared to offer 42%.

The self-marketing plan could see Schwarz open its own dealership showroom rather than sell the vehicles, which will be mostly diesel BMW models, though the supermarkets themselves. A group-owned car dealership, which is being built in Weinsberg near Heilbronn, is to offer the younger used cars

Unlike BMW, Audi would not have been willing to allow the Schwarz Group to self-market, according to the magazine. The used Audi vehicles were previously sold in auctions that only Audi dealers had access to.

Meanwhile, Ford has announced it is to sell cars in the Next store at Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre, becoming the latest manufacturer partner of Rockar’s car retail platform. The dealership group concentrates on non-traditional locations such as shopping centres and online sales and has already established partnerships with Hyundai and Jaguar Land Rover.

Ford’s project, set to be launched in July, could lead to the introduction of similar retail outlets to more of Next’s 500 UK-wide stores, according to founder Simon Dixon.

Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, told Automotive Management: ′We have the most extensive dealership network, which has received significant investment including new FordStores, Transit Centres and Mobile Service Vans. These premises will remain to serve the many customers wanting to make a special trip to a traditional dealer.

′There is however also a growing appetite to browse for cars in other retail environments and online which we are meeting with these new 2018 ventures.’

Ford’s new-look five-car showroom in the newly-refurbished Next store in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre will offer shoppers the opportunity to test drive vehicles and new cars can be handed over at the site. A new Ford team of 15 product experts and support staff are being recruited for Ford in Manchester Arndale.

At the same time Ford will launch an online car sales pilot for customers to specify, finance and order a new car for delivery to participating dealers, Ford in Manchester Arndale or to a home address anywhere in the country.

Offering cars only, Ford said that its display at Manchester Arndale will regularly be changed, and will initially feature the new 2018 ranges of Fiesta, EcoSport and Mustang models.

Renault recently announced it was looking at its distribution model, with plans to open dealerships in more consumer-friendly locations. The company opened its first electric vehicle store in a shopping centre in Switzerland earlier this year.