With the BMW i3 electric city car and i8 electric hybrid sports car, BMW is ready to test online sales for the first time, according to Bloomberg
As an inexpensive way to reach more buyers and recoup the cars' development costs, BMW will sell the i3 and i8 directly over the internet for the first time. The i3 and i8 will also be sold in showrooms, but their initial retail rollout (including the first i-showroom in London
) will be among a limited showroom network.
The online sales option is aimed at a generation of drivers used to making daily purchases over the Internet. Retail outlets will be restricted to dealers with high BMW-brand sales volume who have floor space as well as capacity to work with I models' powering technology and carbon-fiber body material. BMW has chosen 45 of its approximately 200 dealers in Germany to sell the i3 and i8, a ratio that will probably be similar elsewhere, says Ian Robertson, the BMW sales chief.
Further details of how I-model buyers, the website and dealerships will interact are still in the planning process says BMW, but sales will be focused on the world's major urban areas, as expected.
The i3 hits the market next year and is expected to start well north of $40000. The i8 will launch in 2014 to the price of over $125,000 (as BMW recently confirmed