For this year, BMW has increased the number of i8 plug-in hybrids produced for the United States by 50 percent or more than 1,000 cars, but that won’t still be enough to cover all orders for the $137,450 vehicle.
According to Ludwig Willisch, chief executive of BMW of North America, the i8 has become the carmaker’s halo car and has been attracting customers to the brand. He called the sports car as “a brand shaper" as it "stands for all of the technology BMW has to offer” and features a 72-mpg mileage.
To hike output of the i8, BMW said it will build fewer i3 electric vehicles this year. Both cars would not be delivered to US customers until October. BMW started selling the i3 last spring and i8 sales in August 2014.
Willisch remarked that sales of the i3 are also topping targets, noting that it won’t be slowed down by dropping gasoline prices. He said the carmaker is expecting to sell around 1,000 i3s monthly this year in the US, after selling 6,092 i3s and 555 i8s in 2014.
On the other hand, Willisch provided an update on BMW's Future Retail 2016 dealership standards, saying that around 150 dealers are either building new stores or refurbishing. He said that the rest of its 339 dealerships must comply with the standards by the end of 2016.
He added that total dealer investment will reach $500 million. Meanwhile, Willisch shut down speculations that the carmaker plans an i9 supercar slotted above the i8.
He, however, remarked that the redesigned 7-series sedan will feature a further jump in BMW technology in manufacturing, connectivity and luxury perception. BMW will unveil the 7 series in September at the Frankfurt auto show and commence sales in the fourth quarter. BMW saw sales of the 7-series drop 11 percent last year to 9,744.