Should I Buy a BMW i3?


Hi John. I noticed your item on your website concerning dealer delivery fees and I wonder about any suggestions. I have on order a new electric BMW i3 subject to a satisfactory test drive.

I know various items such as a brand new model, very limited dealer choice, luxury brand are against me. When the $6k delivery fee was queried the pleasant sales person included five years' service in the deal but of course for an EV service is minimal.

As it will still need to visit a dealer in that period to safeguard the warranty I tolerated it on the day. Since signing the contract subject to this acceptable test drive down the track I notice on blog sites how excessive the fees are from the four BMW dealers handling the i3 models.

The BMW suggested delivery amount is $2500 as you likely know. Any suggestions from you are appreciated on how I may bargain a better delivery fee deal as I do wish to complete the purchase and just would rather a more reasonable or middle ground dealer amount.

I have been thinking along the lines of hitting them up for window tint or accessories so as they can save the deal. The Australian allocation for this model is rather small but then it has got a premium price on it. I suspect the dealers may be trying to recoup future reduced service income on an electric model by upping the delivery margin. Who knows. Thanks very much. Regards, Gary.


The cost of these types of cars for early adopters is completely over the top - like the first hybrids, only worse, because this one also wears the Bavarian Money Waster badge. Six grand to deliver a car? Hello? Reality check time.

As you say, electric cars do not need oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, clutches, catalytic converters, oxygen sensors...

Generally I tell people you don't need to visit the dealership to safeguard the warranty. More on that consumer warranty issue here >>. But in your case, because of the service being bundled in, and because of the specialized nature of the car, I think you do need to go to the dealer.

Owning the BMW i3 is guaranteed to be a price gouge from start to finish. It's always this way with any new technology. Economies of scale are against you, certainly. The question is: How badly do you want to be seen in this particular shiny, new fashion accessory? Can you put a dollar value on that?

There will be borderline collusion between retailers (dealers) of the ‘i’ products. (Read: Comfortable oligopoly.) Basically demand will exceed supply and they will charge you a bomb for everything in relation to the car - as you are discovering.

To put this in perspective, there’s no economic rationalism case for owning a BMW i3. Nor is there such a case for an Omega wristwatch, as a Casio watch is a tenth of the price (or less) and also a better keeper of time, plus more robust. Owning this BMW i3 is exactly the same scenario, but with four wheels. You’d be better off in a Mazda3 Astina - but it probably wouldn’t send the same message about you.

Bottom line: Early adopters always pay through the neck.

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