BMW remains attached to plans to place a price tag of more than EUR100,000 to its i8 hybrid supercar when the carmaker starts rolling out the model in two years, according to Ian Robertson, BMW's global sales chief. Robertson remarked that BMW will price the smaller i3 electric compact car "very competitively for the substance you get" from new powering technology.
The i3 will be BMW’s first model from its i sub-brand to be rolled out in 2013, according to Autonews. Robertson was present at the unveiling of the sub-brand's first global sales outlet in London, which he described as a demonstration of BMW’s commitment to electro-mobility.
The company is spending around EUR530 million developing the sub-brand, which is expected to keep the carmaker’s sales lead over rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz. BMW is currently the top premium brand worldwide in terms of global sales after selling 1.38 million cars and sports utility vehicles in 2011. Audi and Mercedes-Benz sold 1.3 million and 1.26 million units in the same period.
BMW released pictures of the i8 Spyder, a roadster version of the i8 coupe in April. The i8 coupe is the third concept in BMW’s sub-brand line-up. Benoit Jacob, chief designer for the i models, disclosed that the production model of the i3 compact is based on 85 to 90 percent of the concept version.
The carmaker mulls selling the i cars over the internet and through a mobile sales force, which will be rolled out in various locations. Linda Croissant, a BMW spokeswoman, revealed that BMW has already employed mobile teams to offer test drives at holiday resorts. Robertson, meanwhile, said dealers will remain as the main sales force for interfacing with customers.
He said that in Germany, 45 of BMW’s around 200 dealerships will offer the i model. Karsten Engel, BMW's head of sales in Germany, remarked that the company will continue to own the vehicles while the 45 i-brand showrooms will operate as agents rather than dealers in order to protect sales outlets from the risk of dealing with new-technology cars.