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THE Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone and for many it has also provided an opportunity to take stock and reboot the business.

For BMW UK it has used the past few months to focus on five key areas:

  • Rebalancing supply and demand
  • Maximise opportunities with SMEs
  • Maximising used car opportunities
  • Boosting residual values
  • Maintaining retail sales

Rob East, General Manager, Corporate Sales, said that BMW UK has a business partnership programme aimed at providing SMEs with advice on vehicles, taxation and write down values.

SME market

He added: “The SME market is important for us as it opens up a broader range of vehicles and a good proportion of them in the premium segments.

“At the end of April this year, premium models accounted for 35% of corporate sales and we are starting to see electrification becoming dominant in terms of fleet, particularly as it benefits BiK rates.

“There’s also a shift in how people work and doubts as to whether there will be a return to conventional, full-time office working.

“Working from home allays many of the fears over EVs and, specifically, charging. I can say that 75-80% of our customers are re-evaluating their mobility needs and thinking of moving towards electrification. Added to this is the fact we are seeing company cars become more appealing once more.”

Move to electrification

BMW will have more than 1 million EVs on the road globally by the end of this year and the speed of change to electrification is ramping up. By 2023, the brand will have 13 fully electric vehicles.

East said that range anxiety is giving way to charge anxiety and the Group is looking to remove some of that stress with its BMW/Mini Charging, an app which provides access to a number of key charging networks.

BMW recognises that it needs to engage in a different way with customers, going beyond straightforward sales into bring more collaborative and consultative.

Leasing Portal

Key to this is a new Leasing Portal launched by BMW Group to provide monthly communications and bulletins.

East said: “We have been missing a link and we need to make sure we can create relationships. This is particularly important for people who are leasing vehicles through their company – they often have no idea of the order status and we have been working on a pilot with Lex, Arval and Alphabet to provide customers with regular updates.”

These are via emails starting with an image of the specified car, confirmation of production and the process through build and paintshop etc right through to when the car has landed and its operating details.

Also key to engaging with customers is BMW’s Inside Edge programme that rewards corporate drivers with such thing as free coffee with Costa, movie downloads and discounts to events.

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