One of the nastier side effects of having third-party franchised auto dealerships rather than direct-to-customer sales is that when a new, desirable car hits the market, dealers like to add their own markup to a vehicle’s MSRP in order to capitalize on the initial surge of demand from buyers eager to have the latest and greatest car.
When that car is limited in its production — either because demand really does outstrip supply or the automaker intentionally restricts production to increase hype — the practice of dealer price gouging gets worst, with the most unscrupulous of dealers adding their own market adjustment fees that can add anything up to an additional third or even two-thirds of the vehicle’s MSRP to the sticker price.
BMW’s super-sexy i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe has one of the most regularly marked up vehicles on sale
Ever since it went on sale in the U.S. last year, BMW’s super-sexy i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe has one of the most regularly marked up vehicles on sale, with some dealerships adding four or even five-figure markups to the $135,700 sports car. Since BMW’s order books for the i8 are technically full until 2016 and any new orders placed today facing an agonising year or more of waiting before their cars actually arrive, any cars which are advertised for sale outside of that system are due to the reservation holders reneging on their waiting place. And that drives up the price that dealers can add to the car even further.
One such dealership is JMK BMW in New Jersey, which is now offering the BMW i8 without dealer markup as BMW finally increases production of the i8 at its factory in Germany to keep up with the unexpectedly large demand for the plug-in.
Unlike Nissan and General Motors — both of whom drastically overestimated demand for the Nissan LEAF electric hatchback and Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car during the first few years of production — BMW played it safe, downplaying its expected sales volume for both its i3 electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid.
This has not only ensured the company has a buyer for every car made, but also helps to create hype among car buyers and keep prices at or above MSRP. This in turn helps company profits stay high and create a general feel-good vibe about the prospects of the BMW i-brand moving forward.
Range is just 15 miles per charge, but it’s a sports car, not an eco-friendly electric car.
With a carbon fiber reinforced plastic body shell, the BMW i8 is incredibly light and strong, and requires far less energy during its production than a vehicle made of traditional automotive construction materials like steel or aluminium, helping BMW keep its production costs to an absolute minimum.
Powered by a 1.5-litre, 231 horsepower, three-cylinder gasoline engine driving the rear wheels through a six-speed direct shift gearbox and a 96 kilowatt electric motor driving the front wheels, the BMW i8 can operate in both all-electric and blended power modes.
When operating on electricity alone, range is 15 miles per charge of its 7.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, while the EPA lists the i8 as having a combined fuel economy of 28 mpg when operating in range-extending or blended mode.
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