Will 6-Month Wait Time For BMW i3 Hurt Sales?


BMW i3

BMW i3

Apparently, there’s a 6-month wait time for BMW i3 orders placed in some countries in Europe today, but what does that mean for US i3 buyers?

First BMW i3 Getting Handed Over to German Marathon Runner on September 18, 2013

First BMW i3 Getting Handed Over to German Marathon Runner on September 18, 2013

It means nothing to us here in the States.

The US is the world’s leading plug-in vehicle market and, as such, BMW will allocate a significant portion of the 2014 i3 production to the US.

Sure, BMW may be production constrained in regards to the i3, but even the German automaker knows that poor sales numbers in the US is not something you want to see reported on in the media.

That 6 month wait over in Europe is mainly due to US orders coming in and taking priority status.

Similar to what Tesla is now doing (but in the opposite way), BMW is positioning production for an overseas (US) market.  Initially, Tesla worked diligently to fulfill US order, but now Tesla’s focus is abroad, so we’re seeing US sales of the Model S slip.

BMW initially launched the i3 in Europe, but production is at such a low volume right now that only a few thousand Europeans will have received an i3 before it heads to the US.  When it launches in the US, BMW’s primary focus will be on setting decent monthly sales numbers here.  In the background, the automaker will slowly fulfill its waiting list of i3 orders in Europe.

So, in brief, a 6-month wait over there means nothing to i3 buyers here.  Sorry to say, but in some instances, sales in the US have more value to an automaker than sales abroad.  For plug-ins, that most often seems to be the case.  If you disagree, then you need look no further than the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.  Where will M-B launch that vehicle first?  If you guess the US, then you’re correct.

Category: BMW

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17 responses to "Will 6-Month Wait Time For BMW i3 Hurt Sales?"
  1. Spec9 says:

    Yes. By the time i3 hits the street of California all of the green car pool lane stickers will be gone. That will hurt.

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      That only applies to the REx model.

  2. ffbj says:

    Which, according to the Auto-Car review the REx is what you want to get.
    A catch-i22

  3. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    A long time ago – like 20 years – BMW had 5-9 month waitlists for all their cars in Germany. But plenty of supply in the states. As noted in the article these are different markets. The have different tolerances for wait times and the marketing department at BMW is well aware of this.

  4. evnow says:

    Not as much as the $800 a month lease rate.

    People have waited longer for Leaf & Model S.

    1. vdiv says:

      The LEAF and Model S had little competition. The market is a bit different now and especially when the eGolf and B-class show up.

      1. EV says:

        Volt is $230 and less a month and a better car

        i3 is a waste of money and a rip off

        1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

          GM gimps the Volt’s acceleration, which is what i3 has in comparison.

          GM needs to ungimp Volt so it cracks off 0-60s in the low 7s. RAV4EV can already do this, and it’s both heavier and less aerodynamic.

          1. Taser54 says:

            Rav4EV is a compliance car, only available in CA with an MSRP starting at $50k. It’s not worth $15k more than a Volt and California residents have shown this by only purchase 1000 of these RaveEVs last year.

            1. DaveMart says:

              Californians did not have the option to purchase more as it is, as you say, a compliance car.
              It is not the price but availability which restricts sales.

              1. Taser54 says:

                Nothing in the news shows that Californians were turned away from buying a Rav4EV. In fact, Toyota added sweetheart lease deals in August to jumpstart sales, it didn’t work.

        2. Squeaky says:

          So says the guy stuck driving a Volt. Ever wonder why GM had to make the leases so attractive? And lower the price? Sounds like you’re the one who got ripped off. Cobalts are cheaper than M3s too, but that doesn’t mean I’d buy one.

  5. Lindsay Patten says:

    I wish this logic applied to the Outlander PHEV!

  6. pc says:

    you’re correct

  7. Al S says:

    In North America this will mean that Canada gets the short end of the stick again, though.

    As of now, BMW has lined up nine Canadian i dealers, but there has been no word on pricing or a release date. One i3 is making the tour of Canadian auto show floors, but there isn’t a vehicle available for test drives.

  8. Nix says:

    I don’t really care if it does or not. I just find it really satisfying that there are EV’s and PHEV’s that have 6 month long waiting lists, even at this really early 1st generation of EV’s and PHEV’s at prices higher than conventional gas cars.

  9. Mark says:

    My prediction: The price will drop. Don’t buy now.

    I drove the i3 (and all the other available EVs and plugins minus Tesla) and it’s not worth the Premium price. I know it’s worth more than a Leaf and a Volt or Ford’s Energi cars, but not what BMW is asking.

    At the dealer, I was ready to plunk down more cash for the BMW, but after driving it, I can justify the huge price gap. BMW dealer said they want MSRP. Stripped down, non-ReX is $42,825. You can pick up a Leaf S for $28,000 So is the car worth $14k difference. I don’t think so. I think others are going to feel the same way.

    It’s a cool car, but the price will drop. That’s my two-cents.