BMW has been forced into a manoeuvre that would not look out of place on Top Gear after performing a major U-turn over its insistence that both BMW and Mini brands could not feature on price comparison sites.
The move follows a complaint to the Competition & Markets Authority made by comparison site Carwow, which accused BMW of slamming the brakes on legal competition.
The CMA carried out an initial assessment of the complaint and met both Carwow and BMW UK, triggering a major climbdown by the German car maker. Given this change of heart, the CMA has decided against initiating a formal investigation into BMW UK “at this time”.
The rise of online car sales has been fuelled by the likes of Webuyanycar, Tootle and Wizzle.
CMA senior director of antitrust Ann Pope said: “Online comparison tools can promote competition in many markets and help consumers make informed choices. The CMA therefore welcomes BMW UK’s change of policy.
A browbeaten BMW said: “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.
“Over the coming months we will be working with our retailers and learning from their experience to ensure we continue to provide a consistent premium buying experience for those customers who choose to purchase a BMW or Mini product through these new channels.”
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