BMW Fears Low Gas Prices Might Hurt i3 Sales

Who would’ve thought that we’d be living these days again, days when a gallon of gas is under $2 again... I didn’t and, to be honest, none of my colleagues did either. However, it’s happening and it’s bound to have some effect on the way we live and what we buy.
BMW i3 1 photo
Photo: Catalin Garmacea
That’s what BMW thinks as well and its chief of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, fears that these new prices might hurt EV and plug-in hybrid sales.

“There are some short-term changes that will occur in some countries,” Robertson said on the sidelines of the DLD-15 conference in Munich for Bloomberg. “There would be some moves toward some bigger-engine vehicles.”

The truth of the matter is, even though prices started dipping towards the end of last year, they had an immediate effect on EV sales. For example, over the course of 2014, in the US, sales of hybrid and electric cars totaled 570,475 units, a decrease of 3.7 percent compared to 2013. That’s quite a hit for just a few months.

At first, it might not seem like a big deal as most manufacturers will sell other cars instead but for BMW, for example, it matter more than for others. That’s because the investment made into the creation of new EV and hybrid cars is pretty important and has to be justified and turned over.

Last year, the Germans sold 16,052 i3s and 1,741 i8s. While these numbers do seem encouraging, they aren’t nearly enough to turn over the investment. Admittedly, they were not on sale from January but the i3 starting in spring and the i8 in the summer.

Even so, the situation won’t be as good for too long. Even President Obama warned his ‘fellow Americans’ that prices won’t stay this low forever and that they should reconsider before buying gas guzzlers, thinking on the long run rather than for these couple of months.
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