As BMW Prices The i3 In Canada At $44,950, We Look At Plug-In Pricing Premiums To The North
Shortly after BMW USA priced the all new i3 from $41,350, BMW Canada followed suit by announcing a starting price of $44,950 north of the border.
They also added that the plug-in will travel electrically “beyond a range of 150 kilometres (93 miles)” and “will be available to customers in Canada in the first half of 2014.”
And yes, we did contact BMW Canada’s Director of Corporate Communications, Frank Strebe to ask if they had a price on the i3 with the range extender option added in…they did not.
Now that we have gotten the specific pricing on the i3 out of the way, lets get to second topic at hand whenever a new electric vehicle gets priced in Canada.
Why is it so much more versus the US price?
Well, a little over a decade ago, when it cost Canadians about $1.60+ to buy a single American dollar, new car prices were are actually a bit cheaper on average in Canada than in the US (factoring in the exchange rates).
This pricing reality was mostly due to the fact an automaker could still only sell at a car at the price a market will bear.
However, as the currency recovered to par between the turn of the new millennium to 2007, and through to today (except for a little worldwide financial crisis you might recall in the fall of 2008), automakers seemed to play on the past Canadian reality of “sticker prices are simply much higher in Canada than the US.” And a lot of gouging ensued.
But slowly over the past half-decade (as the currency flat-lined), OEMs started to ‘get reasonable’ with their MSRP mark-ups…but some variance still exists.
In truth, when accounting for regulatory issues and duties (and sometimes transportation when the vehicle’s country of origin is the US), automakers need to make about 6-7% more on a car sold in Canada than in the US to achieve a margin parity north and south of the border.
Often, this deficit is made up almost completely on the bump in the ‘destination’ charges.
So, without further adieu, lets check out who is selling cars on the cheap, and who is adding some price premiums in Canada…and remember, with the Canadian dollar closing at an even 97 cents to the USD recently, a number right around 9% is considered ‘even money’:
Brand US Pricing CDN Pricing +/-
- Ford Fusion Energi – $40,290 ($39,495 + $795) vs $40,448 ($38,899 + $1,550) +0.3%
- Ford Focus Electric (’13) – $39,995 ($39,200 +$795) vs $42,749 ($41,199+$1,550) +6.9%
- Chevrolet Volt – $39,985 ($39,135 + $850) vs $43,550 ($42,000 + $1,550) +8.9%
- Smart ED – $25,750 ($25,000 +$750) vs $28,285 ($26,990 + $1,295) +9.8%
- BMW i3 – $42,300 ($41,350+ $925) vs $47,045 ($44,950 + $2,095) +11.2%
- Tesla Model S (60kWh) – $69,900 (incl dest) vs $77,800 (incl dest) +11.3%
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV (’12) – $30,825 ($29,975+$850) vs $34,698 ($32,998+$1,700) +12.5%
- Nissan LEAF – $29,650 ($28,800 + $850) vs $33,688 ($31,698 + $1,990) +13.6%
- Toyota Prius Plug-In – $32,795 ($32,000 + $795) vs $37,320 ($35,700 + $1,620) +13.8%
- Ford C-Max Energi – $33,745 ($32,950 + $795) vs $38,549 ($36,999 + $1,550) +14.2%
(Note: original 2013 model year starting MSRP taken on base model unless otherwise noted)
As a refresher, here are the top 5 selling plug-in cars in Canada for the first 6 months of the year:
- Chevrolet Volt – 471
- Tesla Model S – 320 (est +/- 30)
- Nissan LEAF – 248
- Toyota Prius Plug-In – 148
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV – 92
Conclusion: While it is nice to see that no models are priced extremely out of line, there is still a 14% price fluctuation between EVs as they cross the border.