BMW CEO: i3 Selling Well Outside Of Urban Areas In U.S.

MAY 6 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 13

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

Despite being pitched by BMW as a perfect urban commuter car, the i3 is becoming a sales hit in areas outside of major city centers, according to BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch.

“The strongholds in this country are parts of California, Texas and southern Florida.”

Willisch adds that the Northeast’s major urban centers, including New York, haven’t warmed up to the i3.  Willisch reasons that perhaps New Yorkers don’t have the environment /sustainability “at the top of minds.”

Willisch stated that 2 BMW dealerships in the U.S. now have standalone i showrooms.  These showrooms were constructed due to high i sales.  Those two dealerships are Crevier BMW in Santa Ana and Stevens Creek BMW in Santa Clara.  Both in California.

Automotive News reports:

“The heaviest i3 allocations are being shifted to markets with the hottest demand. In the San Francisco area, dealers retail from 15 to 30 i3s a month, Willisch said.

BMW is approaching “a sustainable rate,” of 12,000 i3s annually, he said. Last year, BMW sold 6,092 i3s.

Meanwhile, all dealers want more of the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, he said. The i8 has a base price of $137,450, including shipping. BMW sold 555 i8s in the U.S. last year and probably will sell 1,000 this year, he said. But demand will continue to outstrip supply.

Willisch said, “I am collecting allocations from all around the world.”

Source: Automotive News

Categories: BMW

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13 Comments on "BMW CEO: i3 Selling Well Outside Of Urban Areas In U.S."

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Santa Clara is in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Santa Ana is part of the Greater LA Metro Area.

My guess is sales of i3 in Texas are not concentrated in El Paso but centered around Austin where Apple has a “campus”, where the University of Texas is located.

And last is greater Miami Area. Essentially the same temperate climate Metro areas where other short range BEVs are very popular.

What do you want to bet most of these rural i3 purchases are the Rex version?

Absolutely. Mid-priced, extended range/longer range EVs are/will be made for prosperous suburbanites, not city dwellers.

The Mega City car has become the… Mega Suburban?! Gulp! 😉

Standalone i showrooms sounds amazing and very encouraging. Wonder once the core PHEV models show up if they will be sold by those showrooms or in the general area.

If you were off-grid, this is the car you’d buy, of course.
It’s the most efficient = less solar energy needed = less solar panels required.

I don’t think it’s that New Yorkers don’t want to be green. I know plenty of people who do. I think it’s that there are so many apartment dwellers here and so few places to park and plug in freely like one can do in their own garage. That said,suburban people who work in New York are good candidates because they probably have garages but work place charging is probably hard to find as well.

I’m sure there are relatively few i3s or other BEVs right within urban centers where there is little chargine-accessible private parking to plug them in…
BEVs will be more of a suburban/metro vehicle, until there’ll be enough market penetration to justify widespread chargers at curbsides and apartment building garages.

Nobody drives to the city though. That’s what Metro North or LIRR are for. If you can’t walk to the station, you drive and ride the train. So the car part of your commute is small. A lot of cars in the NY metro area are used this way.

New York City has the lowest per capita car ownership rate of the country. A car is very costly due to parking, and a hassle due to traffic and finding a place to park at your destination. If you are rich you ride in a limo. If you are upper middle class you take a cab. If you are lower middle class you take the subway. Actually everybody takes the subway at least sometimes.

But few people of any class drive around town, especially in Manhattan. Car owners are mostly to be found in the boroughs, but even they use public transport routinely. The whole area works more like Europe than the US. Highways are narrow. It would be unmanageable if everybody drove.

And I forgot bikes. Tons of people bike now too.

According to NY DMV, there are ‘only’ 86 i3 vehicles on the road in NYS, most of them downstate. I generated a map showing the ‘distribution’

http://i.imgur.com/Wh4c8Yk.png

Only 22 have the REx option (almost all downstate), and 66 are the GY color (Silver Metallic I think).

That’s kind of counterintuitive. I would have expected the REx option to be popular upstate, where distances are longer and winter is harsher, not downstate.

I have one of the BEVs in Albany area. From my suburb I can reach any of the major cities/towns in the capital region in under 50 miles round trip. Even in the dead of winter BEV worked fine for me. If i’m traveling to NYC or Boston these trips are not practical for Rex with the small tank and speed limitations, so it didn’t make any sense for me. There are actually a decent number of public chargers in this area as well, despite the low adoption.