BMW told its retailers it is committed to making its sales incentive program more "realistic" and dealer friendly.
Adjusting the controversial stair-step program, which financially rewards dealers for meeting sales quotas, was high on the agenda when dealers met with BMW of North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt at the brand's make meeting Saturday.
BMW has told dealers that it will make adjustments to the program in 2020. John Oyler, dealer principal at Faulkner BMW in Lancaster, Pa., said dealers were clearly interested in the issue at the meeting.
"I think most dealers are OK with [the incentives], but not when you have to make irrational pricing decisions at the end of the month, or at the end of the quarter," said Oyler, who is also BMW's NADA brand rep.
BMW National Dealer Forum Chairman Patrick Womack said he would like to see "more math" in how stair-step targets are set.
As a dealer in Chicago, a market with a declining population, Womack said his sales targets should be lower than a BMW dealer in the fast-growing Charlotte, N.C., market.
"We just want to make sure, as dealers, that we are given a realistic target based on fact," said Womack, general manager of Laurel BMW of Westmont in suburban Chicago. "In the past, it's been maybe a broad-brushed stroke of 5 percent growth, or 10 percent."
With new and updated product planned for this year, BMW dealers are pushing for more marketing.
"We feel like there could be some growth potential for the brand in 2019," Womack said. "We don't want to cannibalize each other as a brand. We want to try to go after Mercedes, and Audi, and Lexus."