Agency model under scrutiny after JLR’s U-turn

JLR’s decision to cancel its planned move to the so-called agency model of direct selling to customers is the clearest sign yet that car makers are rethinking their shake-up of their distribution system amid a return to discounting.

Car makers that have pushed back their announced agency switchover include Mini, which reportedly moved its planned UK rollout date from October to 2025, and Vauxhall-owner Stellantis, which announced last year it was delaying its UK changeover to 2026.

The agency model – in which car makers sell to customers via their dealer ‘agent’ in return for a flat fee – was born of a desire by the car brands to get closer to the consumer as they go through the increasingly online process of buying a car.

Agency was also seen as a way to control the high cost of getting cars from the factory gate into the hands of the consumer, estimated by one analyst to be around £7500 or 30% of the cost of an…

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