Car or Commercial?

In a piece for the New York times, Dexter Ford introduces the 2015 BMW i8, calling it the sports car of the future.  From the information presented, however, it seems more like a commercial for the future.  The i8 represents a lot of what consumers and producers have shown interest in recently; it is very light, and can run on electricity alone, making it clean and quite.  Then there are the down sides.  For starters, it costs $136,000, which immediately eliminates the majority of the market.  Add the fact that it can only go 20 miles before needing three half hours to recharge, and it looses even more appeal.  Finally, Ford seemed to find it very important to mention that the i8 has limits on who can ride, with a back seat that is “designed for tiny, limber people” and a driver’s seat that lacks leg room.  Additionally, he describes getting out of the driver’s seat as trying to get out of a bath tub without using your hands.  In a time where consumers expect more technology, comfort, and enjoyment for less and less money, the i8 does not appear to be market ready, and seems to serve as more of a concept car.

However, I believe that this is not the worst thing that could happen for BMW, and it was likely even calculated to an extent.  By making it available to the market earlier than other companies’ counterparts that are likely to follow, BMW is announcing their technological capabilities and establishing themselves as a company of the future.  I believe that in the future, as every auto producer has a lightweight electric vehicle, consumers will remember BMW as the company that was around longest.  If it seems that consumers aren’t remembering this, the 2015 i8 can easily be used by BMW advertising executives as an example of their longstanding place in the electric car market.

The only downside to this strategy would be if too many people gave too much attention to the i8’s flaws, which could cause BMW’s electric cars to develop bad reputations.

Does it seem like this arguably early release will serve as a good marketing strategy for BMW?  Or will they regret it in the long run?

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/automobiles/autoreviews/first-look-bmw-i8.html?ref=automobiles&_r=0

http://www.autoweek.com/storyimage/CW/20130910/CARNEWS/130919999/V2/0/2015-BMW-i8-Frankfurt-debut-rear-3-4.jpg

4 comments to Car or Commercial?

  • Peter Wittwer

    The i8 is a hybrid, it runs on a electric-gasoline engine. It can only travel 23 miles while being powered by the battery alone, but in hybrid mode it gets 90 mpg and can travel 375 miles before needing a charge. It’s also 1,000 pounds lighter then a Tesla, which will only add to its ability to be more fuel efficient. It has an extremely powerful engine and can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds. The gullwing doors and low riding body adds an amazing design of speed and luxury. The i8 is definitely not a car for the average consumer, but it never was intended to be. I have a feeling it will be a hit for people looking to invest in a sports car. The i8 is fuel efficient, technologically innovative, and extremely well designed, in my opinion it definitely is a gateway to how future sports cars will be built.

  • heardd16

    After listening to our alumni guest from Brumos in Jacksonville, FL, I realize some of the folly in the 2025 deadline for so many electric cars. BMW is just one of a number of companies coming out with models, perhaps prematurely, that are inefficient and part of a trend that has come about to meet new emission standards. I think there is a chance that future society will look back on this time in the auto industry and realize that we may have jumped the gun on electric cars. After all, 42% of electricity in the US comes from coal, which is more harmful per PPM than gas emissions from cars.

  • Kade Kenlon

    I think consumers will look for BMW in the future when they want to purchase a luxury electric car. Because there are not many electric sports cars in the market right now, consumers will remember BMW as being one of the first innovators of electric sports cars and they will come back to them in the future. BMW will be recognized as having the most experience with luxury sports car and consumers want a reliable car that gone through years of improving.

  • mayolj16

    As we already studied, some brands have flagship cars to increase interest in the brand among consumers. These cars, that include the Chevrolet Corvette, and the Ford GT40, are not initially produced with the purpose of making profits, but more as a way to show what the brand can do, and raise interest on other models. The increase in sales on other models coming from the production of these flagship cars is impossible to measure, but one thing is sure, car manufacturers allow themselves to have some fun while building them, and they get to experiment on new technologies, in this case BMW will be testing their hybrid models.

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