Automotive News reports that a BMW's spokesman confirmed the decision without saying why it was made - "At this time we do not have plans to bring the iX3 to the U.S. market,". Dealers knew since January:
"In late January, BMW informed dealers at a meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., of its decision to not introduce the iX3 in the United States next year."
The European launch is still scheduled for 2020.
The main question that comes to mind is why BMW freezes/delays the U.S. launch (similar to the Mercedes-Benz EQC, by a year to 2021).
The conventional BMW X3 found 70,110 customers in 2019 (up 14% year-over-year), however the all-electric might not be well received to justify market launch. This is because of several potential reasons:
- Tesla (the brand, the performance, the competition, especially from the Tesla Model Y)
- the range - the 74 kWh battery was expected to deliver "more than 440 km (273 miles) WLTP". The EPA result of over 200 miles would be not enough
Automotive News reached out to one of the retailers: - "Unless the vehicle has a range of at least 300 miles, "it's not worth bringing to the table," said one retailer who asked not to be identified."
- only rear-wheel drive (at least initially), while many consumers would like all-wheel drive
- high demand for BEVs in Europe, supplemented by demand in China (where the iX3 will be produced), is sufficient to not bother with North America for a while
Regardless of the factors, from the outside, the move shows weakness by BMW, especially as the company was promising huge gains by using the 5th generation xEV drivetrain.
Moreover, the article suggests that iX3 will be introduced when BMW develops the next-generation X3 platform, better batteries and all-wheel-drive version.
Hopefully, other new BMW BEVs will have more luck.
BMW iX3 info from 2019
BMW iX3 market launch info (from mid-2019):
- the first BMW based on the new 5th generation drivetrain and on the long-wheelbase X3 – G08 codename
- will be produced for the global market by BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture in Shenyang, China
- sales to start in 2020 in Europe, then also in China and North America
- at least one of the versions to be sDrive75: Rear-Wheel Drive with 75 kWh battery pack
BMW iX3 expected specs (preliminary data):
- range of more than 440 km (273 miles) WLTP
- 74 kWh battery pack (the available capacity) - NCM 811 lithium-ion cells supplied by CATL
- Energy consumption expected below 20 kWh/100 km (62 miles) WLTP
- Rear-wheel drive
- Electric motor peak output: 210 kW (286 hp) and 400 Nm
- expected up to 150 kW DC fast charging