BMW i US Production Update

2 months ago by George Betak 24

BMW i3 Production

BMW i3 Production

BMW i8 Production

BMW i8 Production

We are providing a quick update on BMW i US production figures for the month of July and August due to popular demand.

As previously reported, the range-extended (REx) version of the i3 has been produced and sold in greater numbers than the all-electric trim (BEV). The ratio was 3:2 in favor of the REx at some point.

Although there were signs of accelerating demand for the all-electric version in June, this was unexpected, and considered to be an anomaly. Enter the month of July, when the 100% electric version has clearly outpaced its plug-in hybrid brother. And even more surprisingly, this trend seems to extend into August as well.

With that said, the Leipzig factory has produced 5,500 i3s for the US market so far this year. While about 1,500 i3s have been delivered to customers so far, and another 1,500 are likely in transit, we should see approximately 2,000 vehicles in unsold inventory. This seems to be corroborated by a report from Cars.com, which lists about 1,500 cars in inventory on dealer lots. How these developments will affect August sales figures for the i3 we can only guess, but given the mounting inventory, BMW NA might want to take advantage of short-term sales incentives to clear the channel.

While the preliminary production figures for the month of August have seen a significant slow-down, this likely not reflective of diminished demand. Many businesses in Germany allow employees to take summer vacation in August, and operate on a different schedule, which could explain the sudden change in production volume. Conversely, July was the busiest month on record, and the factory in Leipzig sent 1,200 i3s to US shores in a span of five weeks.

Meanwhile, the BMW i8 has seen a sharp jump in US production volume, which has reached a run rate of about 100 units per month. If this pace holds, a lot of us should start seeing this futuristic sports car on the road very soon. An exciting perspective!

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29 responses to "BMW i US Production Update"

  1. Jason says:

    Could you provide more specific numbers or link to source please?

    1. George Betak says:

      Hi Jason, yes, please see if you can access this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/bmwiproductiondata

      1. Jason says:

        Thank you!!

        1. George Betak says:

          No problem, happy to help!

  2. CHR says:

    Give me a $8K-$10K discount on an REX and I’m getting it today. The i3 should have been $1-$3K more expensive than a Leaf just because it’s a BMW but not by almost $18K. This is absurd! Our local dealerships must have a combined 50-60 unsold i3s.

    1. David Murray says:

      I’d probably bite too at $8,000 less.

      1. George Betak says:

        I think that we will see the emergence of a better lease deal down the road. Also, there is some room to offer a more basic trim here in the US. What BMW presently offers is pretty well equipped, particularly when compared to its European brethren.

    2. Compare the appointments in an i3 to a LEAF and you’ll see why it is not only $3k more.

    3. Spec9 says:

      Yes, you pay a lot for the BMW badge. But the i3 does have some advances though. The CFRP is snazzy stuff keeping it light. And the REx is something not available at all on the Leaf (but it shouldn’t cost $4K to add a 2-cylinder ICE.

      1. See Through says:

        It’s not just an extra engine. It’s the software and electronics of seamless transition and power re-direction between battery and the REX generator.
        Considering that it costs over $10K in Model S to add 50 miles of extra range ( 60 kwh pack to 85 kwh pack), $4K extra for unlimited range isn’t bad.

        1. Bill G. says:

          Even with the REx I don’t see the i3 as a long haul vehicle, unless one is willing to stop OFTEN to charge AND fill up. If you’re low on both, getting through some mountains could get dicey.

  3. David Murray says:

    I honestly don’t understand why anyone would buy the BEV version of this car other than just to be a “purist.” The cost of the Rex compared to the overall cost of the car might as well be pennies. And yet it makes the car so much more versatile.

    1. George Betak says:

      David, I share the sentiment, but there could be other reasons for getting the BEV. Subsidies or carpool-lane stickers, for example. But overall it looks like it could be driven by the desire of having an all-electric vehicle. Possibly also by the presence of a second gasoline car. Let’s see what the future will bring. It certainly has been an interesting learning experience so far!

    2. Joshua Burstyn says:

      For once we agree on something.

    3. mutle says:

      I disagree, in fact I own a BEV i3. I usually don’t drive long distances often, so in normal use I would not need the REx at all. If I really need to drive long distance and there is no CCS available, I can rent a lot of cars for the extra cost of the REx.

      I had my BEV since April and I did not need another car since, while I drove 4500km (including a 1000km round trip to Amsterdam and a 1200km drive to Norway where I am right now).

      Of course if I had a long commute or had to do longer trips regularly I might feel different. I’m glad however that BMW offers both versions of the car.

      1. I agree with mutle. I have an i3 BEV because I do not need to drive very far. I am in LA, CA and even the trip to downtown and back is on a single charge. If I need to go far, I would just rent. It is all about lifestyle. The LEAF proves that range anxiety does not affect all.

      2. David Murray says:

        I agree in principle.. And the numbers make sense. But numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Just like you claim how much it costs to rent a car vs. buy the Rex. Yet you could make the same argument over buying the i3 in the first place instead of an old $3,000 beater car and buy gasoline.

        We own a Leaf and a Volt. And although the Leaf does work for our needs 99% of the time, that 1% seems to come up more often than I realized. And then we have to take the Volt. Having to do it over again, we might have two Volts instead. The Leaf is a great car, as I’m sure the i3 is, but the Rex is really a huge upgrade in capabilities. It isn’t like adding a better stereo or having leather seats.

        Also consider the resale aspect of your car. On the used market, a person looking for an i3 BEV would probably take a Rex version if he found one he liked. But a person looking for a used Rex model would likely pass on a BEV model.

    4. Lou says:

      There’s only 1 reason a REX version exists, lack of Fast Charging infrastructure. As soon as that is in-place, zero reason to be burdening the vehicle with 330 pounds of dead weight.

  4. jessy says:

    6 873 bmw i3 sold worldwide since the beginning.

    12 631 renault zoe sold worldwide since the beginning.

    no more comments are necessary.

    1. mutle says:

      Not sure if you want to say i3 is a success or a failure based on your post, but it is very hard to compare two cars that have been on the market for a very different timespan and sold in different regions.

    2. Mikael says:

      More comments are definitely necessary. Because the i3 is selling better, is more popular and has charmed people in many different countries.

      The Zoe is slipping and basically only able to get sales in France.

      If someone just looks at your numbers they might actually think the Zoe is more popular.

  5. AC says:

    There are a lot of cars on dealers lots. Closest one to me has 22. They are not selling according to the salesman.

    Not surprised – if you log into the Facebook group or the other forums you’ll find a lot of reported issues with the car. Examples include cars not charging, complete shutdown while driving, lowered charging rates, malfunctioning AC, multiple software updates needed, nav not installed, etc… I’ve read about 4 buy backs already.

    BMW already reduced the cost of the lease by bumping the residual 7% higher. Couple dealers are advertising $3,000 or more off on cars.com to start with.

    However, BMW is going to have to do more or these are going to sit on lots. Especially with the model year change coming. I think $8k off will be the sweet spot.

    I like the car and would pull the trigger at this level over the MB.

      1. George Betak says:

        I believe the previous comment was referring to the 2015 BMW i3, which cannot be more than a few months away.

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