In Desperate Effort To Increase Sales, BMW Ups Ante On i3 In Germany


BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

BMW i3

Electric vehicle sales in Germany are soft, but BMW is trying to change that with an i3 offer that it hopes will lure in buyers.

“BMW is resorting to unconventional tactics to jumpstart sales and offering prospective German customers an i3 for €555 ($692) a month. That price includes a full collision waiver and a whopping 3333 kilometer (2071 miles) allotment. If the customer bites and outright purchases the car, the original fees are reimbursed.”

Reports Car & Driver, via kfz-betrieb.

Car & Driver suggests that German i3 sales are way below BMW’s expectations:

“Dealers have been able to sell 1900 units since the beginning of the year, a third of which came with the optional gasoline-fueled range extender, says kfz-betrieb. That’s woefully short of the 5000 to 6000 units the 43 German “i agents” are supposed to sell before the end of the year.”

But we suspect that the 5,000 to 6,000-unit figure is either not from BMW, or not realistic given Germany’s typically low plug-in sales figures.

Whatever the case may be, it’s interesting to see BMW making an effort to increase German EV sales.  Time will tell if this unique sales approach works.

Source: Car & Driver

Category: BMW

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17 responses to "In Desperate Effort To Increase Sales, BMW Ups Ante On i3 In Germany"
  1. JRMW says:

    One problem is that German electricity rates are very high. This impedes sales. In addition Germany is an autobahn focused country, more so than much of the rest of Europe.
    the i3 is a phenomenal city car. It can easily drive on the autobahn. But very fast speeds negatively affect range, and the wind noise becomes noticeable.

    I suspect Germans will favor the eGolf or plug in Golf which has better noise management at high speeds.

    I REALLY want the i3 to succeed. Go BMW and go Germany

    1. no comment says:

      gasoline is also expensive in europe – that’s why europeans have stronger incentives to conserve energy than is the case in the u.s. the i3 is a lot better suited for european driving habits than it is to those of u.s. drivers. i suspect that the big problem with the i3 is that it is rather expensive for what you get. it looks like a car that should sell for half its price.

    2. jessy says:

      hello at first domestic electricity in germany is the most expensive in europe.
      at second germany is an urban nation, opposite of france which is a rural nation.but per million inhabitants germany has not more autobahn than france. germany 80 millions inhabitants and 14500 km motorways, france 66 millions inhabitants and 12000 km motorways.
      and i want to say that germany HAS NOW A SPEED LIMIT on their motorways and NOW TOLL for trucks and cars.

  2. FSJ says:

    This strikes me as evidence that the car is too heavily compromised and polarizing. If it was a real winner, it would selling like crazy despite obstacles like high price, a la Model S.

    1. JRMW says:

      Not sure I agree. The Leaf is also polarizing but is by far the #1 seller.
      unsurprising that a BMW would sell less volume than a Nissan
      The i3 isn’t compromised for its price point. Comparing it to a Tesla that costs 2x is unfair. Of course BMW can’t sell a car at $45k with the same specs as a $90k Tesla

      I agree that i3 styling was a risky bet that likely failed
      I think RWD Is a bigger failure point as Northerers in general don’t like RWD

      Crippling the US version with the 6% SOC programming was unwise but is easily overcome… But it lead to a lot of bad press

      Crippling the US version with the tiny gas tank was also a poor choice

      1. Assaf says:

        I actually think this is the Leaf story replayed.

        In the Leaf’s first 2 years, Nissan execs too have needed to repeatedly revise expectations and change strategy.

        Selling EVs to the masses is not trivial. Otherwise the roads would have been crawling with them already, because objectively already in the 90s if not earlier there was everything one needed to make at least a decent and cost-effective city-car BEV.

        As to US vs. Germany: actually it seems in the US the i3 sales are a relative success, considering BMWs not-huge overall volume here. This despite the REx crippling etc. The i3 holds the US plug-in record for the most sales in a car’s first half-year, beating Leaf, Volt and everyone else.

        And in Germany too: the griping reported in the post aside, through October the i3 is the plug-in sales leader for 2014, and will likely take the annual crown there.

        Again, mostly a matter of calibrating expectations. *And* tweaking the product, as Nissan has done with the 2013 Leaf.

        1. Spec9 says:

          Well, a LOT of people don’t just want a ‘city car’. They want a car to do everything. PHEVs will probably be what opens up the plug-in market to the broader public unless someone pulls off a sharp drop in battery prices. (C’mon Tesla, we are all rooting for the Gigafactory to succeed.)

          1. BraveLilToaster says:

            And LOT of people already own two cars, which eliminates any shortcomings the Leaf has beyond “everyday” usage. And a LOT of people who own a leaf and an ICE hardly use their ICE anymore.

            At least, that’s what I’ve heard from the Leaf fan club. I also couldn’t help but notice a whole lot of 2011-2012 Leafs on used car lots that have hardly any mileage on them. So I don’t know what the hell is up with that.

      2. FSJ says:

        JRMW, I think you just proved my point for me, by listing all the relevant compromises I referred to. I wasn’t comparing it to the Model S. The cost was just an example of an obstacle. An example that belongs to the Model S but not the i3. Again, if the i3 was a real winner, it would be flying off the shelves. The Leaf’s strength is its low price.

      3. Brownstone says:

        About rear wheel drive… RWD is what BMW does and for the most part that’s what their customers what. I’m sure they expected an entirely new demographic of customers but I think they made the right choice. The range extended version is even significantly back heavy (45%f/55%r) so a front wheel drive version would be terrible in the show snow.

    2. Mikael says:

      Well the i3 is selling better in Europe than the Model S and have been closing down on the global Model S numbers too even though it’s been introduced later and in fewer markets.

      But it’s still disappointing though since BMW surely had their target set way higher than the number of Tesla sales.

      1. CherylG says:

        Actually it was Tesla who had a much higher sales projection for the Model S in Germany than BMW ever did for the i3.

        Tesla projected that the Model S would be selling at a rate of 10,000 per year in Germany by the end of 2014.

        Even the big price cut Tesla put on the Model S hasn’t helped them get anywhere close to their projection.

        1. Lindsay Patten says:

          Tesla was expecting to sell a third of its production in Germany? Somehow I doubt it. Do you have a link?

      2. Josh says:

        What are the world numbers on the i3? Model S did 22k its first full year on the market and something like 30k – 33k this year.

        1. Josh says:

          Sorry, missed the Europe part of that comment. There is no doubt that Europe has been a disappointment so far for Tesla (excluding Norway and Netherlands).

          It looks like they are doubling down in Europe with the new SuperChargers, stores, and AWD.

    3. Spec9 says:

      Well, the Model S is not selling well in Germany either.

  3. Rob Stark says:

    Given that the i3 is half the cost of the Model S,using standard industry sales mix, it should sell four times as many.

    Tesla never projected 10k sales in Germany. That is just nuts.

    Tesla projected sales of 300-400 per month.

    In Europe through October i3 8100 sales but only ~3100 BEV sales to Tesla’s 7300 BEV sales.