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Here's a twist in BMW's foray into the EV market that we hadn't anticipated: Online sales. Bloomberg is reporting that when BMW launches its i3 electric and i8 plug-in hybrid next year, the German carmaker will be selling the cars direct to customers via the Internet.

BMW is showing off its electric brand at a new London showroom, part of its Olympic sponsorship, but when the cars go on sale in Europe the ordering process will be part of the car configurator, according to the report. A BMW rep told the news service that details for how this ordering process would work with its existing dealer network have not yet been worked out.

The motivation for online sales is simple: Cheaper costs for the automaker. Online car prices could be five to seven percent less than those sold from a dealer, according to the report.

Here in the U.S., it is highly unlikely that such a model will be implemented. Both Ford and General Motors explored creating direct, online sales channels in the U.S. a decade ago, but those experiments went nowhere, due to state franchise laws and universal opposition to the idea among dealers.


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