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Is The BMW i8 Worth The $100,000 Price Markup?

BMW i | August 20th, 2014 by 20
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Supply and Demand. It’s what makes the capitalist economy go round and round. It’s no secret that the first year’s run of BMW i8s are …

Supply and Demand. It’s what makes the capitalist economy go round and round. It’s no secret that the first year’s run of BMW i8s are sold out. But here’s the kicker, if you are willing to pay over sticker, they are still available. The question is, how much will they cost you.

Just this month a well heeled prospective buyer was told an i8 was available if he was willing to pay “Market Value.”

“Good morning Mr. X,

Thank you for your interest in our BMW i8. We are scheduled to get our first i8 in September but the information as to build and options is limited to us at this point. To date we have four clients who have given a deposit and you will be the fifth. The deposits at this point are just holding the clients place in line to have the right of refusal or purchase.

However, this BMW will be sold at “Market Value”, not MSRP. In short, the input we are receiving is the selling price of the i8 will be between $50,000.00 to $75,000.00 above MSRP.”
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We have also learned that some dealers sold their i8s for as much as 100,000 over sticker, that’s nearly a 75% surcharge. Then there was the very special one-of- a-kind BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition, which was auctioned off for $825,000, nearly $700,000 over sticker last week. This though was sold in a Gooding auction to raise money for a Pebble Beach Charity and can’t really be considered a market indicator.

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The i8 is truly a remarkable sports car. Its exotic looks are matched by its exotic construction, a carbon fiber reinforced plastic body with an aluminum subframe complete with a plug-in hybrid power train capable of 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. It can run up to 23 miles on pure electric mode at speeds up to 75mph.

The front wheels are powered by an electric motor with 131 hp and provides instant off the line torque. The rear wheels are powered a three cylinder 1.5 liter motor putting out 231 hp and 236 lb-ft, making it the most powerful motor of any BMW production motor at 154hp/liter.

Back in April when we test drove the i8 and parked it on Rodeo Drive, people literally swarmed the car, snapping cell phone pics and selfies with it. Driving it hard through the canyons revealed the i8 to be a true sports car.

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For a full review of our drive of the remarkable and revolutionary i8 read here.

So this brings back to the original topic: why would anyone pay $100,000 over MSRP for the i8?

1. It’s a limited run of a very special car, the demand can readily outstrip the supply. Historically, this is a point at which in a free economy some are willing and able to pay over MSRP for the ability to purchase as vehicle they would not have otherwise gotten at that moment in time.

2. There is no question that the BMW i8 is a truly special car. Add to that the accolades from the automotive press and widely publicized fact that the first year’s run of i8s are sold out in the US and there is the perfect storm for i8’s going substantially over MSRP.

3. Some people just want to have the latest and greatest, at no cost and they enjoy the bragging rights. In this case, money is no object to them and this is just another toy.

But why wouldn’t make sense to pay so much for the i8?

1. There is no way that the i8 is going to be a limited edition run car. BMWBLOG has been told by a BMW AG representative several months ago that BMW will manufacture as many i8 cars as customers want. That’s not to say there aren’t limitations in the rate of production.

2. The i8 is a incredibly complex gull winged carbon fiber machine. So for the near future, demand will exceed supply.

Without a doubt some BMW Dealerships are shortsighted and choose to sell for what the market will bare. It is normal and not uncommon. Other stores will value long term relationships with their customers and immediate profit is not their long-term strategy.

Only time will tell where the i8 will shake out in all of this, but it is my belief that supply will catch up with demand sometimes after 2015. BMW has invested too much into the new sub-brand BMW i to make the i8 a limited run production car.

Let us know what you think.

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  • bvhbmw

    I was told directly by the North American product manager for BMW i that dealers charging premiums for the i8 would have their allocations cut. I suppose if a dealership wants to sell one or two with a premium before they get caught and never get another i8, that’s up to them.

    • SterlingBMW

      @bvhbmw So why did we all get emails from BMW saying please dont sell your i8’s at MSRP?

      • bvhbmw

        I think they meant, “Please give your loyal customers a discount.”

    • Makis

      nonsense … the dealers list their cars on Cars.com with 2x the MSRP if BMW wanted to do something about it all they have to do is look at CARS.com

      • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

        Not sure if BMW NA can force the dealerships to sell at MSRP. In the end, they are just licensed dealers.

      • bvhbmw

        Unless you have access to BMW’s allocation tables, I don’t think you have the necessary information to say that what the NA manager told me is “nonsense”.

  • buycurious

    A similar thing happened back when the Z8 debuted in 2000. Some were sold for more than $200k over the $136k sticker. There’s always someone who is willing to pay for the latest fashion. However, while the almost 15-year-old Z8 is now consistently selling above its original sticker up to almost $250k for pristine low-mileage examples, I don’t see the i8 having the same long-term run. We’re in a time of sharp innovation, and who knows what it will take maintain these more complex dual power drive systems.

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  • Antony Griffiths

    The real question should be “when are BMW going to stand-up (for the honour of their brand), speak-up(for the integrity of the industry) and then shut-down this despicable dealing?”

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  • Makis

    BMW needs to sell cars at MSRP. I have been buying BMWs all my life and have been treated well until my last visit to view the I8. When I asked how much is the car I was told “don’t even think of getting one for less than 100K over sticker…. The car in the showroom had a sold tag but a sales person hinted “it may be available for the right price”… needless to say I left without buying or looking at anything else

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