BMW feverishly pitches its plug-in i3 as one of the world's most sustainable automobiles.
From the olive oil used to tan the leather, to the responsibly harvested eucalyptus used within, BMW is keen on pointing out that the i3 is all about sustainability.
There's hemp within. Some Kenaf plant is used for fibers. The plastic panels inside comes mostly from recycled materials and even the power used at the i3 factory comes from the wind.
But does any of this matter?
Yes, it certainly does. The use of sustainable materials is something we commend BMW for, but it's not what will sell the i3.
Sure, there are likely a handful of buyers out there who will see the Eucalyptus within and say "that's why I bought it," but the vast majority of potential buyers won't care.
The i3 will sell based on looks, performance, price and brand name.
Sustainability is something that automakers have pitched for at a least a decade now, but never once have we seen a study where it's proven that sustainable materials sell vehicles.
For the geeks within us all, let us know that sustainable materials are used, but please don't waste time, money and effort by trying to sell a vehicle based on it sustainable aspects to the public.
It's wasted effort.
Instead, focus on those 4 features that sell: looks, performance, price and brand name.