NEWS: Report: BMW Considering Online Sales of i3 and i8 Electric Cars

July 27, 2012
BMW I3 And I8 Concepts On Stage
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It's been nearly nine years since Ben Affleck purchased a BMW online in the mediocre Hollywood film "Paycheck," but it looks like the German automaker is going to make that fiction a reality with its upcoming i electric cars.
Bloomberg reports that an online sales outlet will be a part of BMW's total sales strategy for the upcoming i3 and i8 electric vehicles. BMW spokespeople and bosses said that they were hoping that the sales process will feel at home to people who make routine purchases online--even though the starting price for a BMW i electric car is roughly $48,500 for the i3.
That's not to say that the i3 and i8 won't be available at bricks-and-mortar (or glass-and-steel) stores. BMW recently opened its first sales outlet on Park Lane in London, with a special BMW i showroom sandwiched between more traditional Mini and BMW dealers.
The online sales idea is another in a long line of ideas and developments for the BMW i sub-brand. Unlike, say, a new 1 Series coupe or convertible, the i3 and i8 won't be sold at all BMW sales outlets. Out of 200 German BMW dealers, only 45 of them will sell either of the upcoming electric cars, and that ratio will be duplicated in other countries.
For buyers who take the plunge online, there may or may not be a financial benefit: there's obviously less overhead in selling cars online, so a dealer could slice as much as seven percent off the final asking price. Considering that the i8 will retail for at least $122,800 (100,000 Euros), seven percent is no small sum ($8596, to be exact).
There's only one small problem with that, one about which BMW must think quite a lot: the i3 and i8 aren't conventional automobiles, so many potential customers will want to get familiar with driving an electric car (with or without a range extender) before they make the purchase. Still, BMW's obviously looking for some unconventional strategies in an attempt to sell its unconventional cars.
Source: Bloomberg
BMW I Park Lane Exterior

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