BMW hopes to bring down the price of their upcoming "i" brand plug-in vehicles by selling them online. This is the German automaker's first attempt at selling cars over the internet and if it runs smoothly, you can bet we'll be seeing more online sales from BMW and competitors alike. Internet car sales could be significantly cheaper to execute than those carried out by brick and mortar dealerships, passing along an estimated 5 to 7 percent savings to the consumer, according to a Detroit News source. In a world where consumers are still get used to the idea of a car that you can plug into the wall, this could be a great way for BMW to test the waters.
So two questions remain, how will buyers conduct test drives and who will service the cars? While select high volume dealers will still carry the i3 and i8 vehicles, we wonder if test drives could also be done during events in large cities (similar to marketing and awareness efforts we've seen from EV carmaker Tesla Motors). Also, current BMW dealers would still be the best option for servicing, but might the smaller local dealers be upset they can't have a piece of the sale?
We'll have to wait and see.
Update via Autoblog: 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.
[Source: Detroit News]