Originally, BMW planned to build 10,000 copies of its innovative i3 electric/plug in hybrid i3 a year. But when the final numbers for 2014 were tallied, the total came to almost 18,000 cars. Of those, about 40% were sold in the US. Keep in mind that i3 sales in America really didn’t start taking off until the Fall. In the last 4 months of 2014, about 1,000 i3’s a month found new homes in US driveways reports AutoBlog.
BMW board member Ian Robertson told the press at the Detroit Auto Show last week. “The US is already our largest market for our electric vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8. Worldwide, we sold close to 18,000 BMW i models last year. Nearly three-quarters of these sales occurred in the second half of the year, when the global rollout — including the US — really got underway. Demand for these vehicles continues to be high and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to increase production to meet that demand.”
When production started, the company was building only ten i3’s a day. Now that number is up to 100 a day. BMW spokesperson Verena Von L’estocq told the press at the Detroit Show, “Getting production right this first year has meant slow going, but we’re comfortable now.” She says BMW expects more production increases in the future.
So, is this a big deal? After all, BMW sold more than 2,000,000 vehicles worldwide last year. The total for the i3 and its big brother i8 was around 18,000 vehicles — less than 1% of the total production for the year.
But make no mistake. Electrics and plug in vehicles will rule the marketplace in 10 years, according to most industry observers. BMW is building and selling those cars now while other companies are just starting to think about how to design and manufacture them, and according to some analysts i3 sales are already nearing profitability. That experience is going to put BMW in an excellent position vis a vis its competitors in the future.