Since Mini relaunched in the United States, all consumers had to do to get their hands on a model from the brand is to go to the nearest BMW dealer. And this makes complete sense as Mini is also owned by BMW.
But it looks like this setup could be changed if Mini’s new head for North America gets the final say.
Michael Peyton, CEO of Mini North America, has expressed interest in opening the brand’s dealer network to non-BMW retailers, according to a recent report.
This move could be beneficial for Mini as it allows the company to select optimal candidates for a dealership in a particular area instead of being forced to go with a BMW franchise. Meaning, if the local BMW dealer is not doing well in the market and had low feedback from customers, the company could award the Mini dealership somewhere else.
“For markets where Mini needs to perform better, I’ve got to make sure I’m looking at who the right operator is, regardless of what franchise they have,” Peyton said. “If it’s the BMW dealer that’s the best dealer in the area, fantastic. But if the best dealer is with another brand, then it’s OK to look at them as a potential operator.”
While this could lead to better customer service for consumers, it can also be a challenge on the part of the dealers as it may take a while to adapt to a new brand’s infrastructure.
But based on a much earlier statement from Peyton, he has expressed thoughts on possibly closing some stores in areas that are overserved. Instead, Mini dealerships will likely be sharing real estate with BMW dealers, particularly in areas that do not have or lack a standalone Mini dealer, as part of a previous agreement with BMW North America.