Will cheap gas hurt the BMW i3 sales?

News | January 20th, 2015 by 7
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“There are some short-term changes that will occur in some countries,” Robertson said for Bloomberg. “There would be some moves toward some bigger-engine vehicles.”

At the DLD-15 conference in Munich, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, talked about the future of the BMW i3 family and the impact of cheap gasoline on the sales.

“There are some short-term changes that will occur in some countries,” Robertson said for Bloomberg. “There would be some moves toward some bigger-engine vehicles.”

In the U.S., a gallon of gasoline sells for less than $2 now due the U.S. pumping oil at the fastest rate in more than thirty years, combined with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ refusal to cut supply. The price of oil is down forty percent compared to last year and a shift back from hybrid and electric vehicles is bound to happen.

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In the U.S., sales of hybrid and electric cars totaled 570,475 vehicles last year, down 3.7 percent compared with a year earlier, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. BMW sold 16,052 i3 cars in 2014, along with 1,741 i8 hybrids. The hybrids and electric vehicles account now for 0.8 percent of all BMWs sold in 2014.

But Robertson says that a shor-term shift away from electric vehicles won’t change BMW’s strategy for the brand and this year the company will release new hybrids, including the X5 eDrive.

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“The legislative framework in the U.S. and Europe, China and Japan is clear, and it’s not going to change,” said Robertson. “The advent of zero-emission cars is coming, so our strategy remains on that track.”

7 responses to “Will cheap gas hurt the BMW i3 sales?”

  1. mckillio says:

    In the short-term, unfortunately. Long-term, no. It’s amazing to me that people have had such high gas prices for years now and then there’s a few weeks and people are already changing their buying habits as if gas prices won’t go up sooner than later.

    • Mike Vella says:

      Actual conversation that I overheard –
      – “we’re thinking about getting a Toyota Tundra for hauling the kids around”
      – “what? those things are gigantic and get horrible mileage, you just have the two kids”
      – “yea, but gas is so cheap now.”
      end scene.

  2. mckillio says:

    In the short-term, unfortunately. Long-term, no. It’s amazing to me that people have had such high gas prices for years now and then there’s a few weeks and people are already changing their buying habits as if gas prices won’t go up sooner than later.

  3. Ruffles says:

    No, it won’t. The BMW is still a premium car. People that are interested in it know what it is and what it represents and they want it for those reasons. When your able to afford a $50k car, you can afford it whether gas is $2 or $4. People shopping for cheaper cars will now consider whether the premium manufactures charge for hybrid versions of cars make sense. Cars like the Toyota Camery and Honda Accord hybrids will be affected but I doubt BMW will see any impact.

  4. CDspeed says:

    Sadly a good amount of consumers don’t have long term memory, and see the low gas prices as an end of troubled times. I have spoken with some people who now think going electric isn’t necessary because gas is “cheap”, as if gas prices were the only reason for automotive electrification. But gas prices are a roller coaster, they have never been truely stable. I think in general most electric cars, the i3 included should stay stable and continue to grow in sales, if they slow down it will only be temporary.

  5. johnbl says:

    Disappointing having the head of Marketing focused on gas prices, and short term shifts, and missing so much that is right about EVs…Needs a lesson on marketing from Elon Musk!

  6. johnbl says:

    Disappointing having the head of Marketing focused on gas prices, and short term shifts, and missing so much that is right about EVs…Needs a lesson on marketing from Elon Musk!

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