BMW ponders new ways of selling cars

* Diverse range needs new thinking * 'Demonstrators' can't do the job * Package options together...

BMW ponders new ways of selling cars

BMW is looking at how it can sell cars in future to counter the increasing diversity and complexity of its latest models.

The new 5 Series is a classic example of how the character of the car can be changed, depending on the options fitted to it. Things such as electronic chassis and steering control systems can make a big difference to how the car drives and that is before buyers start looking at the vast range of comfort and luxury features also offered.

'How do we satisfy the need to ensure our customers are able to buy the right car? There is no way that can be done out of a set of demonstrators at one point,' admitted Ian Robertson, the board member for sales and marketing.

'No single dealership will be able to have all vehicles present, so an electronic display of vehicles is becoming increasingly important. We have to find other solutions.

'There is a massive list of options. It is too complicated,' he said. 'One way might be to follow the German example and group various options together. For instance, if a customer buys one option it might illustrate that he is clearly interested in safety, so we package related items with it.

'What is certain is that we need to find different ways of handling it.'