BMW U-turns on online dealer block after CMA threatens investigation

The CMA has now dropped its investigation into BMW's practices

BMW has reversed a policy that prevented its dealers from listing its models on various online car portals, following a potential investigation from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on behalf of Carwow.

Carwow, which allows sellers to ‘compete’ over potential buyers, approached the CMA last year after discovering BMW UK was preventing its dealers from registering both BMW and Mini vehicles.

The CMA carried out an initial assessment and later met with the two companies. BMW later informed the authority that it would change its policy and allow its dealers to work with Carwow and ‘similar internet-based new car portals’.

The investigation will now not go ahead, however the CMA has stated the decision was taken in light of its prioritisation principles and ‘does not amount to a statement as to whether any business has infringed competition law’.

BMW has today (24 January) announced it will be working with retailers in the coming months to learn about their experience in external online car sales to ensure a "premium buying experience" across all channels.

The company stated: "With an increasing number of customers now looking to use online sales channels, and given the experience we have with BMW Retail Online, the time is now right to enable our UK retailers to explore the additional sales opportunities that are becoming available through internet based new car portals."

James Hind, chief executive of Carwow, said: "At Carwow we strive to bring increased transparency to car buyers, enabling them to make a fully informed decision about their purchase, while providing car dealers with the opportunity to reach more in-market consumers and sell more cars.

"This morning's announcement is therefore great news for both buyers and dealers, and we look forward to working with BMW and their dealers to bring these popular cars to Carwow buyers."

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