At 20,000 Units Sold Per Year, BMW i3 Is Profitable


BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

“In a nondescript industrial building in suburban Detroit, a $50,000 BMW is lying in pieces. The place looks like an illegal chop shop, where stolen vehicles are disassembled to be sold as parts. The body is on the floor, the chassis propped on a stand, the powertrain spread out in tiny bits on a table, the seats on somebody’s desk.”

“But A. Sandy Munro is no car thief: he paid full price for the BMW i3 he subsequently tore apart. Nor is he selling it for parts. He is, however, selling information about this remarkable car to anyone who is interested. And rest assured, a lot of people in the auto industry want to know its secrets.”

From this teardown, Munro concludes:

“This is, without a question of a doubt, the most advanced vehicle on the planet.  It’s as revolutionary as the Model T was when it came out.”

Munro is chief executive of Munro & Associates, a firm that specializes in reverse engineering (tearing down) automobiles.

Additionally, it’s from this teardown that Munro claims that “despite the high cost of carbon fiber and lithium-ion batteries, BMW has designed the i3 to be profitable at a volume of about 20,000 vehicles a year,” according to Forbes.

BMW claims it can build up to 30,000 per year in full production.   BMW said from the NAIAS today that global sales so far through the end of 2014 was about 18,000 units, so if Munro’s claim is true, then BMW could already be profiting from the i3.

Source: Forbes

Category: BMW


11 responses to "At 20,000 Units Sold Per Year, BMW i3 Is Profitable"
  1. Speculawyer says:

    Well . . . it is a pretty high price and a pretty small battery, so I should hope so. But the efficiency of the vehicle makes up for the small battery.

    1. James says:

      How does the efficiency make up for the small battery?

      $42-55,000 for basically a small, 4 seater city car? The robotic assembly line with less workers and the small, less expensive battery make more money for BMW, but less value to the consumer who would buy one.

      Go out, buy a LEAF and enjoy the same range, with seating for 5 ( albeit cramped in back ). Again, to those who state it’s worth the money because it’s “quick”, or “sporty”. First, if you go around punching the accelerator in a BEV you’re defeating it’s purpose for being and decreasing it’s range drastically. Second, with it’s high structure, even with it’s low battery pack center of gravity, the very thin and tall tires and wheels reveal i3 to be rather pedestrian in performance. Look to this website for a recent comparison with a tiny “hot hatch” by Suzuki costing $14,000 and change, and the Suzuki beat i3 around a track by 8 seconds – an eternity by racing standards! Someone actually called i3 a “hot hatch” in here yesterday! LOL! i3 feels quick because of 100% torque and it is faster to 60 than anything electric I can think of besides a Model S. This still isn’t “fast” compared to ICE cars. And “fast car” or “high performance”, or “sporty” generally means fast other than a straight line.

      It’s hard to get the BMW PR out of people’s brains – really hard.

      1. James says:

        Another way to look at all these people stating the i3 is “sporty”. One auto journalist was impressed with i3’s quick responsiveness ( and also, mind-clouded by that BMW airplane propeller logo on the hood with horsecollar grille ). He stated that once he drove the i3 longer, he realized that “twitchy” sometimes feels “sporty or responsive”, but soon becomes tiring or fatigueing in everyday driving. Such as longer drives on the highway where you want a steady on-center steering feel. So he revised his first impression and downgraded i3.

        Look, my bicycle is “sporty”, OK? It’s responsive and my shorter wheelbase bike feels really responsive, but on that one I cannot ever relax, or I’ll go over the handlebars. Some people here need to drive more cars to understand what true performance entails.

  2. ffbj says:

    Revolutionary as the Model T? Not even. Also there was this little thing, the Model S, that came out way before the i3.

    1. FFY says:

      Tesla’s manufacturing process is much more conventional than that of the i3. That’s probably what Munro is referring to. It’s not just about innovative technology, but also about producing it at attainable prices while still making it a viable business.

  3. BraveLilToaster says:

    This article is the longest non-sequitur I’ve seen.

    “it’s from this teardown that Munro claims that […] the i3 to be profitable at a volume of about 20,000 vehicles a year”

    How exactly do you figure that one out from a teardown? Is it because he can find out how much all the parts cost? Or is there some kind of magic sauce that he found under the seat cushions that told him how much BMW is spending to make each one? Because I totally expect that only BMW knows the answer to that question, and it’s a huge mystery how much everyone else is making (or not making) on every other EV being made today.

    1. vdiv says:

      You know what’s funny about large companies? BMW may not know exactly either. 🙂

      Can the i3 be better? Yes. Will it? It already has improved so yes.

      What’s important is that they invested in plugins and are actively working on them. The accounting is relevant, but really not that important in the grand scheme of things.

  4. GM apparently made very good use of intel from both Tesla and BMW i in the new Bolt – to tremendous effect. I just hope that it makes it to production intact. A lot of good lessons there.

    The interior is especially well done. Clean, uncluttered. It would be the first GM I ever bought since the 1972 El Camino.

    Go GM, go!

  5. Omar Sultan says:

    I am guessing the actual accounting for the i3 includes some allocated cost for the R&D that went into the car (which would appear to be significant). Unless Munro has some idea of what those allocated costs are, the analysis seems a bit simplistic.

  6. Theo says:

    Well im a i3 owner and indeed, the car feels special and is a blast to drive in everyday commute. Ive driven around 2000 km in 4,5 months of ownership and while im not an BMW fan (actually ive driven alot of beemers but wouldnt buy any of them as i consider them too high priced) i must say that the i3 differs enough to make it revolutionary or at least very evolutionary of an ordinary produced car. Im in NO way a Environment nut, but i sure do appreciate when auto manufacturers try to be Environment friendly in production, something BMW shows that they are trying very hard to be with the i3.

    Would i buy this without state subsidies? Probably not, but most of the countries in the western World are trying to make our cars less gasoline/diesel dependant and this my friends, is a big step in that direction.

    Next – we need more nuclear plants!

  7. Theo says:

    Of course i meant 20 000 km….lol