Q&A: Does BMW Franchise in the UK?

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If you’re interested in setting up your own car dealership, you might want to know more about BMW – how successful is it on a global scale and are there any BMW franchise opportunities? We reveal all…

BMW was founded in Germany in 1916 and now produces vehicles in Germany, the UK, South Africa, India, Brazil, China and the US. But only in the UK are all three of the BMW Group’s brands – BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce – currently manufactured.

Here on British soil, the BMW Group employs around 8,000 people directly, and a further 14,000 via its retail network. BMW has invested almost £2 billion in its UK operations since 2000, so it’s not surprising the UK is BMW Group’s fourth largest sales market worldwide.

History of BMW

Since its launch at the start of the 20th century, BMW has become one of the world’s most successful car dealership businesses. In the UK, Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW have been particularly popular among consumers.

Oxford’s Mini Plant started up in 2001 as the base of MINI production and, since then, it’s produced more than three million cars. In the same year, BMW Plant Hams Hall started making four-cylinder petrol engines. And two years later, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited began manufacturing automobiles at its Goodwood plant.

The BMW Group also has a UK sales and marketing subsidiary in Farnborough and a vehicle distribution centre in Thorne.

Does BMW franchise?

Unfortunately, there are no BMW franchise opportunities currently on the market, as the brand prefers to expand with company-owned sites.

How to get involved with BMW

In the UK, there are over 150 BMW dealerships offering some of the most advanced, innovative cars the automotive industry has to offer. BMW encourages people who are passionate about the brand to get involved by taking up a role in one of its manufacturing plants or retail showrooms.

You can search current job vacancies here.

The car dealership market in the UK

More than 41 million people have a full driving licence in the UK – that’s a lot of people who need cars. BMW is the fourth biggest car brand here, falling just below Ford, Volkswagen and Mercedes. In 2019, it sold almost 170,000 new cars.

Although there is evidence to suggest the car dealership market has suffered in recent months, there’s no reason to turn away from the sector. As consumer preferences change, there are plenty of opportunities to start a profitable car dealership business. For example, drivers are increasingly interested in minimising their carbon footprint, so setting up a dealership leasing or selling electric or hybrid vehicles could be a great business move.

Similar franchise opportunities

We’ve rounded up four of the best franchise opportunities for budding car dealership owners. Keep reading to find out more about them.

1. Green Motion

As the name suggests, Green Motion is a car and van rental dealership that cares about the environment. This car and van rental franchise provides businesses and clients alike the opportunity to enjoy a vehicle with lower CO2 emissions at market-leading prices. The brand is the only 100 percent, fully franchised vehicle rental company, with every single location being owned and operated by a savvy entrepreneur.

Founded in the UK in 2007, Green Motion’s UK network has expanded to over 20 locations – and the brand has thrived internationally too, with its vehicle rental services being provided in over 40 countries. This makes Green Motion the sixth largest car and van rental company across the globe.

  • Becoming a Green Motion franchisee: The company is searching for ambitious entrepreneurs to join its UK network as part of its UK expansion strategy. Click here to learn more and sign up.
  • How much you need to invest: A minimum investment of £70,00 and a total investment of £140,000 is required, including £39,500 in franchise fees.
  • What you get for your investment: Green Motion provides franchisees with comprehensive training and ongoing support, including, but not limited to, creating a unique brand identity, planning the location, customer service, business planning and accounts support. As a franchisee, you will also benefit from your location being displayed across 47 distribution channels, such as the travel brands Expedia and Rentalcars.

2. Ford

Ford operates the largest franchise network of all car manufacturers in the UK. It has over 400 franchised car dealerships on British shores, spread across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  • Becoming a Ford franchisee: Ford offers six different franchise opportunities targeted at different market sectors, from accident repair to transit services – and, of course, vehicle sales. By completing the franchise application form on Ford’s website, you’ll have the chance to become a successful franchise partner.
  • How much you need to invest: Ford hasn’t disclosed its investment figures, but you can find out more by contacting the brand.
  • What you get for your investment: All franchisees will join one of the biggest and oldest dealership networks with the largest vehicle park in the UK. More information on the training and support provided should be requested from the brand itself.

3. Volkswagen

Volkswagen first emerged in the UK in 1952, with the sale of two models of its signature Beetle. But today, it’s the UK’s largest vehicle importer and employs more than 1,800 people across the country. Volkswagen dealerships are owned by a number of regional franchise groups that operate several dealerships in their local area.

  • Becoming a franchisee: The Volkswagen business is built on the shoulders of its hard-working franchisees. There are 250 of them across the country that are delivering high-quality German engineering to a large market. To get involved, write an application letter and send it to the address listed on Volkswagen’s retailer webpage. The automotive business should get back to you within two weeks.
  • How much you need to invest: There aren’t any investment figures on the VW website, but you can contact the business to find out how much it would cost to open a dealership under the brand.
  • What you get for your investment: The franchisor should provide a good level of initial training and ongoing support, but the official VW start-up package hasn’t been revealed.

4. Hyundai

Hyundai has been selling cars since 1967. It was founded in South Korea and has expanded globally over the years. In 2010 and 2011, it was labelled the fastest growing car brand in the world by Interbrand.

  • Becoming a Hyundai franchisee: Hyundai offers a conventional car dealership franchise package that gives franchisees the opportunity to sell new and used Hyundai vehicles in a specific territory. Evans Halshaw is just one of Hyundai’s franchise groups. It’s an example of how franchisees can grow to capitalise on local demand, as it owns four different Hyundai dealerships based in Newcastle, Gateshead, Leeds and Harrogate.
  • How much you need to invest: Again, there aren’t any clear statics on how much it could cost to start a Hyundai car dealership, but the business should be able to give you the figures.
  • What you get for your investment: Hyundai hasn’t released an official franchise information pack, but you can find out more about the opportunity by getting in touch with the dealership franchise.

Joining the automotive sector

Although it’s not possible to start a BMW franchise unit, there are plenty of other investment opportunities in the automotive sector. And, if a car dealership franchise isn’t for you, why not consider other areas? Here on Point Franchise, we have:

>> Read more articles on the Car sector

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