BMW’s sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson said that its new ‘i’ sub-brand will be expanded to offer a full range of alternatively fueled cars. In an interview with Autocar during the launch of the new sub-brand, Robertson described the i3 one-box hatchback and i8 sports car as “two bookends for the brand; in the middle there will be more books.”
Robertson said that BMW has trademarked all the relevant names starting with i. Robertson declined to give the price of the i3, known before as the MegaCity Vehicle, but he said that it will be offered at a premium price in the same segment as the Nissan Leaf.
In the last couple of years, BMW has launched and tested hybrids and electric cars; however, R&D chief Klaus Draeger said i was being launched now as BMW will be able to market cars developed specifically with alternative powertrains in mind.
Draeger added that the i8, previewed by 2009’s Vision Efficient Dynamics concept that featured a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, won’t receive a diesel engine. Instead, it will be petrol powered since the company wants it to sell globally. He explained that diesel is “only really relevant to Europe.”
Robertson said that the i8 would become BMW’s “halo” car when it is launched in 2013. He added that the i8 will be a pinnacle car for the BMW brand as a whole, not just the i brand. He said that BMW is focused on offering premium, leading-edge technology and sportiness and considers this to be a “real halo product.” [via autocar]