The switch of new car sales to an agency model (the sale of cars at a fixed price controlled by and sold by the manufacturer) has started in earnest, but as it moves from theory to practice the holes are already starting to emerge. 

Mercedes-Benz made the switch to agency at the start of the year, and plenty of others say they are set to follow, most recently Ford, which announced plans to shrink its European retail network and pursue a close relationship with customers last week.

Agency was here already, of course, with newcomers Tesla and Polestar already adopting direct sales (though Tesla now has more than 40 physical ‘stores’ in the UK, and more than 200 in the US, 60 of which are in California), yet Mercedes is the first brand with traditional bricks-and-mortar dealerships to transition from the ‘old’ way of selling cars to agency.