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Think you might one day be able to lease a BMW i3 on the cheap? That's not likely to happen, according to Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America. Willisch told Automotive News that the German automaker – which all know is coming a bit late to the mass market plug-in vehicle sales game – is counting on the city EV to improve the company's image, "toward innovation and sustainability."

Saying the i3 will be advertised as an innovation package, helping to show that the brand known for performance can also to green. It's an evolution of the "Born Electric" campaign and we'll certainly be keeping our eyes open to see if it's an effective message.

The i3 will go on sale in the US early next year and despite BMW's assurances to AutoblogGreen that the company will be able to ramp up production to meet demand, Willisch said demand will be high demand and that "supply will be somewhat limited." Given that Willisch said the i8 will go on sale a few weeks after the i3, the spring of 2014 could be an interesting time for BMW in the US.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      What's with the goofy body lines along the rear windows? If the price wasn't enough to turn me off this vehicle, the silly design would be.
      JP
      • 2 Years Ago
      They want to improve their image with an ugly car? Good luck with that.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      This would make sense since it fits in the normal BMW price bubble and their target market. BMW will lease them at sustainable rates where the vehicle will come off the lease at close to the value BMW assumes when they make the lease. So they'll be expensive buying it or leasing it (like other BMW's) and they'll sell some, but not alot. The crazy leasing prices of the Nissan Leaf (far from the original Lease rates), where the vehicle is going to come off lease assuming huge values (after its marginal battery range has declined significantly), are wonderful for the consumer but they sure won't balance the books after the lease is up (that'll be Nissan's problem to deal with those losses).
      GasMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Prius did wonders for Toyota, casting a green glow around a company so they could continue to make tons of ICE cars and SUVs. This confirms the suspicions of many that major automakers "green" efforts are merely compliance and PR expenditures.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        Doesn't seem right GasMan. Whether toyota sold Prius's or not doesn't allow Toyota to continue making tons of ICE cars (which Prius's are anyways) and SUV's - they'd do that regardless of whether the Prius exists or not. There wasn't a compliance need for Toyota back when they created it (they were just afraid U.S. manufacturers were going to make hybrids since they prototyped hybrids here in the U.S. with government funds first - then turned around and ignored that tech). It turned out there was alot of consumer demand and the Prius is now one of Toyota's top selling cars and they make lots of money with it - its just another car that stands on its own two sales feet, not a compliance or PR expenditure at all. JMHO...
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          Ryan: They are bringing out a load of hybrid cars. They need more pep for some models than the somewhat anaemic performance of the Prius, so they couldn't simply drop the drive train in. Just the same they are now ready to bring out several other hybrid models.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Sasparilla Fizz
          But why hasn't Toyota brought the hybrid tech to their other car/truck/SUV lines? They have the technology.
      Exooc news
      • 2 Years Ago
      just registered for i3 test drive in Prague...cant wait
      diffrunt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is weirdness really necessary to sell good electro/mechanicals?
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      It will definitely improve their image but the problem is that all their other cars are still the same old obtuse crap tech. Sure many fools will continue to buy that crap tech because they are sheepish nitwits but even those can't help wonder why there is such a thing as carbon fiber cars with electric drive when they buy cast iron skillets with steam engines. So the only way to actually improve the image is for innovation to permeate all of BMW, not just a token lie. Verstehen sie? Mach schnell!
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Our development work on future drive systems is guided by a clear maxim: intelligent spectrum. The same is true of our path towards zero emissions mobility: For urban areas, we have the electric BMW i3. For slightly longer distances we have our plug-in hybrids – such as the BMW i8. And for long distances we are looking into solutions such as fuel-cell-powered electric motors. In the future, options like this will offer short refuelling times and enable long distance travel with zero emissions. In terms of technologies, we are of course cooperating with the Toyota Motor Corporation. Here, too, we believe purpose-built vehicle architecture is the right approach for a series vehicle in the future. This is the same as our BMW i family today." - Statement Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Conference Call Interim Report to 30th June 2013 https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/pressclub/p/ca/pressDetail.html;jsessionid=TH4JR8HcWt8D5FbLTxGvgl1m7yhZYyV90qfyDJhCp4vDtBwgrfYJ!-183031989?title=statement-dr-norbert-reithofer-chairman-of-the-board-of-management-of-bmw-ag-conference-call-interim&outputChannelId=21&id=T0144415EN&left_menu_item=node__2203
      Jeff C
      • 2 Years Ago
      The BMW i3 & i8 concept cars were plastered with innovation & technology and were so futuristic looking that I was immediately sold. I know that a tremendous amount of new manufacturing techniques went into the production model, but the i3 just doesn't show it. If BMW's goal was to make it look like every other BMW, they succeeded.
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