The German carmaker is keen to stress that the two outlets need to operate as businesses, and as such, it will not load them down with excessive trial schemes. But it’s clear new innovations will be tested there before a wider roll-out.
The two sites, a full service/repair centre in Battersea with 22 bays, and a fast-fit outlet in Nine Elms with 15 bays, will average 1,600 hours per bay per year.
The bulk of business will come from BMW’s two wholly-owned sales facilities, Park Lane and Westminster, although it’s likely that other BMW franchised dealers in the city will be able to offload some excess work to reduce customer waiting times.
BMW is close to appointing its first authorised repair centre, a non-BMW premium retailer with surplus capacity in its workshop.
Other retailers, and some independents have also expressed an interest, while BMW’s own franchised network is expanding its aftersales capacity – either on-site or standalone facilities – to cope with a rising car parc.
Investment levels will prohibit many from officially applying. BMW estimates the cost of establishing a four-bay workshop in an existing building to meet the standards at its franchised dealers is £250,000 for training, equipment, signage and quality control systems.
“The ideal solution is for our existing dealers to take up the opportunity provided by excess demand,” says BMW aftersales director Steve Nash. “But if someone else comes on board and meets our standards we will treat them like the rest of our network.”