BMW i3 Sales Predicted to be Between 3,500 to 3,800 Units Per Year; Cheap Leases Won’t be Offered


BMW i3 Sales to Top Out at 3,800 Per Year in US?

BMW i3 Sales to Top Out at 3,800 Per Year in US?

Soft sales is what IHS analyst Peter Nagel is predicting for the BMW i3.

Quoting Nagel:

No Cheap Leases Here

No Cheap Leases Here

“The demand is weak for electric vehicles and there is increased competition.”

IHS Automotive predicts that BMW i3 sales will top out at around 3,500 to 3,800 units per year in the US, which is far below what we think the future holds for the i3, but maybe these words from BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch play into the IHS’ low figure:

“We put a lot of resources into it so we have no plans to sell it cheap.”

Willisch is responding to Automotive News who asked if BMW would offer lease deals on the i3.  We won’t see $199 per month leases on the i3, that’s for sure, but it seems Willisch is saying that no money will be put on the hood of the i3 to entice buyers.

It could further be the case that IHS realizes that 50 (mostly located less populated areas of the Midwest and South) of BMW’s 338 dealers won’t be selling the i3.  That alone could knock down predicted sales by a bit.

Lastly, we should point out that Nagel says this:

“It is priced against the [Cadillac] ELR. The fit and finish of a BMW may be different than a Cadillac but they are playing in the same space. They are in a tighter space than the Tesla.”

Of course, the i3 is not priced against the ELR (we don’t yet know ELR pricing, but we predict it to be in the neighborhood of $70,000 versus the i3’s base price of $45,200 with the REx option), so we begin to question the accuracy of the rest of Nagel’s statement.

Our annual US sales prediction for the i3 in 2013?  Somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 units.  Maybe touching 7,000 if it rolls out quicker than expected.

Categories: BMW

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "BMW i3 Sales Predicted to be Between 3,500 to 3,800 Units Per Year; Cheap Leases Won’t be Offered"

newest oldest most voted

So this genius predicts that the sales of a carbon fiber electric BMW at 41000$ will be substantially lower than Leaf sales?
I really don’t think so buddy.

Remember the i3 is a very small car. The LEAF can hold 5 passengers; the i3 can only hold 4. The i3 is roughly the size and weight of the i-MiEV.

Outside dimensions, the i3 is small due to short front and and rear overhang. Interior, there is a lot of space. Estimated to be similar to the 3 series around 96 cf. Compare to a Prius 94, Leaf 92, Volt 90, iMiEV 85.

Indeed. The i3 is not entirely comparable to the iMiEV. It’s as wide as a LEAF, and nearly an inch taller. It should have much better acceleration, handling and interior space than the iMiEV too.

You tout carbon fiber. Yes carbon fiber is nice. Yet with all that sophistication, i3 gives you the All Electric Range of a LEAF! So what?! Now try to repair a carbon composite i3. You can’t. What’s going to happen when your insurance company calls your i3 with a little dent “A TOTAL”? Who’ll fix it? Who’ll touch it? BMW service is expensive. In fact, expensive isn’t the half of it? i3 can work for Europe where the BMW nameplate has history and evokes stout nationalism. Euro zones, high occupancy zones and low Co2 zones and i3 were made for one another. USA’s buyers with our expansive interstates, high mountain ranges and extreme temperature ranges relegate i3 to an urban car. How does that make it a good deal? How does that make it more appealing than a LEAF? A road trip from San Francisco to LA in a Volt is far more wonderful than trying it with an i3. 3 hour recharge, 2 cylinder optional limp-to-charger ReX? Seriously? You think this is a model you can get behind? If you have your heart set for prestige, by an American-made Tesla 60kwh. Superchargers are growing up like weeds. 2 new… Read more »

This could be a genuine sale’s estimate. However, it also could be BMW playing the “expectations” game by trying to dramatically under estimate sales publicly. Early on, the Volt and Leaf were often shamed by detractors as being sales failures, and BMW might be trying to avoid that. It also could mean that they don’t expect to produce many i3’s (they previously mentioned “tight” supply), which would make this look more like a compliance car than it previously did.

As with any new car, the expectation is high due to the manufacturers marketing efforts. As the i3 sits for 1-2 years, reality will always trump expectations. The more competition the better. Tesla will give every EV maker the push.

Well, they are setting a pretty low bar. That is probably a wise move. It is best to under-promise and over-deliver.

Oh never mind. This is from IHS. BTW, IHS is a major consultant for the oil industry so I’d take what they say with a grain of salt.

Avoid this one and wait for a Tesla Gen-iii or otherwise. The way it looks, some people will wonder who even makes it. Some will buy, of course, and this is perhaps BMW’s compliance car for the credits.

If it where only a compliance car, it wouldn’t be sold elsewhere (like the rest of the world) and they wouldn’t have gone through the effort of designing a whole new vehicle with new technology. No, they really believe in this product, I think

Links in other articles lead to an interview with a BMW bigwig who says that the i brand is being done in order to comply with increasing limits globally, not just CARB.

I predict that the i3 will have fewer cumulative sales in the US than the Tesla GenIII will have in backlogged orders when the first GenIII rolls off the assembly lines.

My guess is going to be pretty much what Nagel is predicting…3600 sales in year one. That’s an average of 300 sales/month. Here are my reasons for the low estimate: 1. They just said they aren’t discounting or giving sweetheart lease deals. The leasing crowd has been a huge portion of the sales of the other Plug-ins so far. Without the sweet lease deals, sales would be completely dismal of plug-ins. 2. The $41-$45,000 are BASE prices, and BMW loves adding options. Real world i3’s will be much more expensive than their competitors. I’m thinking more in the $50,000 range than $40,000. 3. Only 288 BMW dealers will carry the i3. So there’s another handicap. 4. Competes with about everything that wears a plug. So in summation, expensive financing/leasing, high transaction prices, less than 300 dealers will carry the car, and increased competition will hurt the prospects of the i3. I don’t want to come off like I’m down on this car. I think it is awesome in its own right. But when people say this will sell like hot cakes, well, I’ve seen this movie before. I’m happy to be wrong btw.

I don’t know about Europe, but BMW had better sell all the i3s they can while they can in the US, because the Tesla GenIII is going to kick it’s butt all the way back to Leipzig.

We’ll see which of them is the real Ultimate Driving Machine.

No shit Sherlock. Tesla has made a laughing stock of all the other manufacturers.
They have leapfrogged the competition by at least 3-4 years.
All one needs to do is compare the floor pan layouts of any of these vehicles and it becomes obvious. They all (except Tesla) have tons of wasted space. Even the Leaf (who would be the closest competitor has wasted space. You’d think the had an ICE under the hood.

Then look at the Tesla S skateboard chassis. It’s a factor of 10 better than any of the others.

The i3 is no better. Look at all the wasted space in the back where the RE and motor/ inverter are.


You do realize that the layout of the i3 is almost identical to the layout of the Model S as to relates to the batteries and motor. It is ALSO a skateboard design with batteries in the floor and motor over the rear axle just like the Tesla….

The tesla GEN II is at least 5 yeas away. They are waiting on battery battery tech to get to the $35,000 200 mile range. However, once this is available Tesla, it will be available to everyone…

This is why there are nothing but a 2016-2017 estimate of the GEN III….

More like 4 years, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the signature Gen-III models out in late 2016. Musk wants to get those out ASAP.

Don’t think that just because Tesla can make the numbers work in 4 years’ time that the other carmakers can or will do it too. After all, Panasonic batteries are kind of available to all the major manufacturers, but only Tesla had the foresight to use them, and only Teslas have 200+ miles of range (and supercharging). The others were more worried about having “proprietary battery systems” most of which can’t compare (cough! Leaf!).