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      04-15-2014, 08:10 AM   #1
Jason
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Post BMW i3 Production Output Increased to Meet Rising Demand

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BMW i3 Production Rate Increased to Meet Rising Demand
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April 15, 2014

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles, has increased production of the i3 electric city car 43 percent to meet demand that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations.

The premium manufacturer in recent weeks has raised daily output to 100 vehicles from 70 previously at the factory in Leipzig, Germany, where the model is assembled, Harald Krueger, BMW production chief, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

BMW has already built more than 5,000 i3s since the start of the year, Krueger said. The current production rate translates to about 20,000 vehicles for the full year, almost twice as much as BMW’s initial sales forecast.

BMW began rolling out the i3 last November and will begin bringing the i8 hybrid sports car to market in June. Both vehicles have a carbon fiber chassis to cut weight and improve fuel efficiency. The Munich-based automaker said in February that it’s building a second production hall at a jointly run plant with SGL Carbon SE (SGL) to boost assembly of the material.

“Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now rolling out the i3 in the U.S.,” Krueger said in the statement. “The U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”

BMW gained as much as 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 90.57 euros and was up 0.3 percent as of 1:21 p.m. in Frankfurt trading. The stock has climbed 5.8 percent this year, valuing the German manufacturer at 57.9 billion euros ($79.9 billion).

Bold Move

Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said in October the company was considering a production increase for the model after early demand exceeded expectations. BMW said at the time it had 11,000 orders for the compact car, which will cost $41,350 in the U.S., and aimed to sell more than 10,000 in 2014.

“BMW invested a lot of money” on their electric-car push and using carbon fiber, said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “It was a bold move, but it also bears some risk as production is complex. They need to make this work.”

Audi AG (NSU), the world’s second-largest premium automaker, is adding plug-in hybrid versions of already existing models as the reach of purely battery-powered vehicles remains a concern for many car buyers. The unit of Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe’s largest automaker, has largely restricted the use of carbon fiber to cars of its high-performance sister brand Lamborghini.

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      04-15-2014, 08:44 AM   #2
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Went to dealer to place an order for an M3 and an i3 for GF. The rep told us she should wait longer than me! Though i began spotting them here and there i didn't expect i3 to that popular.
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      04-15-2014, 08:49 AM   #3
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It's going to hard to keep up with the demand for a while, until they offer more i models..
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      04-15-2014, 08:53 AM   #4
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Did BMW ever release an estimate of how much they wanted to sell? I knew the i3 was going to sell but never thought it would be the popular.
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      04-15-2014, 10:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TheBingoBalls View Post
Did BMW ever release an estimate of how much they wanted to sell? I knew the i3 was going to sell but never thought it would be the popular.
~10k. Now 20k
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      04-15-2014, 01:26 PM   #6
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Smart for them to set a very low production estimate. That way double the output sounds impressive.

20,000 units worldwide is very low volume.
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      04-15-2014, 03:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by M3_WC View Post
Smart for them to set a very low production estimate. That way double the output sounds impressive.

20,000 units worldwide is very low volume.
It will be awhile before they offer the i3 worldwide, and for a totally new vehicle in a totally new (to them) class of car, to start with nothing, that's pretty impressive. Now, if it were intended to compete with something like a VW Golf, that wouldn't be, but it is not intended to. ANd, in the USA, it obviously won't be available for the entire calendar year. The real tell is subsequent years as people get exposed to them.
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      04-15-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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Smart for them to set a very low production estimate. That way double the output sounds impressive.

20,000 units worldwide is very low volume.
Not for an all electric plug-in vehicle. That is actually really impressive.
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      04-15-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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I hope they make enough such that demand is lower than supply and I can get a good deal on one when they add the sunroof option in 2015
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      04-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bozola
I hope they make enough such that demand is lower than supply and I can get a good deal on one when they add the sunroof option in 2015
The know that the Euro version already has a sunroof...
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      04-16-2014, 03:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by r3dbimmer89 View Post
Not for an all electric plug-in vehicle. That is actually really impressive.
Tell that to GM. The Volt/Ampera is the number one plug-in electric car in global sales (over 30,000 units).

Yet many still consider it a sales flop.
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      04-16-2014, 04:43 PM   #12
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Tell that to GM. The Volt/Ampera is the number one plug-in electric car in global sales (over 30,000 units).

Yet many still consider it a sales flop.
I think that plays a part of the fact that GM estimated sales to much higher while BMW started with an estimated number that is much lower.
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      04-16-2014, 06:55 PM   #13
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In the USA, in 2013, both the Leaf and the Volt sold slightly over 20K units and each of them has been on the market for a about three years. For a totally new vehicle to come out and approach those levels in its first year is impressive (course, it will be awhile to know what the USA sales figures are). Of those two, the Leaf is the closer competitor - the Volt is a plug-in hybrid, and has a different market and intended customer (as a single-car ICE replacement). Neither the Leaf nor the i3 is the only vehicle owned by a typical customer, and is a more focused client. Comparing plug-in hybrids and totally electric vehicles implies the seller has not gotten their message out, or people have not been listening. They are not interchangeable (one might argue the Tesla is, but try a long distance run off the interstates, and you may not agree).

As I've stated before, my typical vehicle use is primarily an occasional max 10-mile one-way run, with the more typical use of 1-3. This plays hell with an ICE when there is no regular longer runtime to clean out the crud from multiple short trips (especially in the winter) and is really hard on the battery, too. So, something that is designed and not impacted by that sort of use is a good solution. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this use pattern, and can afford a single use vehicle verses something less focused like the Volt. Even though the Leaf is bigger, it does not fit things I'd like to carry...the rear area is weirdly shaped, very common to other vehicles in the Nissan line - a very deep pocket with a big liftover - the i3's luggage area is flat, and level, a significant improvement.

But, it is natural to try to make comparisons, even when they really shouldn't be.
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      04-16-2014, 10:51 PM   #14
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I think that plays a part of the fact that GM estimated sales to much higher while BMW started with an estimated number that is much lower.
Hence my original post.
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