BMW Lifts i3 Electric Car Production 43% on Higher Demand – Bloomberg

Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the
world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles, has increased
production of the i3 electric city car 43 percent to meet demand
that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations.

The premium manufacturer in recent weeks has raised daily
output to 100 vehicles from 70 previously at the factory in
Leipzig, Germany, where the model is assembled, Harald Krueger,
BMW production chief, said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

BMW has already built more than 5,000 i3s since the start
of the year, Krueger said. The current production rate
translates to about 20,000 vehicles for the full year, almost
twice as much as BMW’s initial sales forecast.

BMW began rolling out the i3 last November and will begin
bringing the i8 hybrid sports car to market in June. Both
vehicles have a carbon fiber chassis to cut weight and improve
fuel efficiency. The Munich-based automaker said in February
that it’s building a second production hall at a jointly run
plant with SGL Carbon SE (SGL) to boost assembly of the material.

“Following the market introduction in Europe, we’re now
rolling out the i3 in the U.S.,” Krueger said in the statement.
“The U.S. will be the largest market for the i3.”




Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

A power cable runs out of the trunk of a new BMW i3 battery-powered car, manufactured by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, at the company’s factory in Leipzig. Close

A power cable runs out of the trunk of a new BMW i3 battery-powered car, manufactured… Read More

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Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

A power cable runs out of the trunk of a new BMW i3 battery-powered car, manufactured by Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, at the company’s factory in Leipzig.

BMW gained as much as 43 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 90.57
euros and was up 0.3 percent as of 1:21 p.m. in Frankfurt
trading. The stock has climbed 5.8 percent this year, valuing
the German manufacturer at 57.9 billion euros ($79.9 billion).

Bold Move

Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner said in October
the company was considering a production increase for the model
after early demand exceeded expectations. BMW said at the time
it had 11,000 orders for the compact car, which will cost
$41,350 in the U.S., and aimed to sell more than 10,000 in 2014.

“BMW invested a lot of money” on their electric-car push
and using carbon fiber, said Stefan Bratzel, director of the
Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied
Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “It was a bold move,
but it also bears some risk as production is complex. They need
to make this work.”

Audi AG (NSU), the world’s second-largest premium automaker, is
adding plug-in hybrid versions of already existing models as the
reach of purely battery-powered vehicles remains a concern for
many car buyers. The unit of Volkswagen AG (VOW), Europe’s largest
automaker, has largely restricted the use of carbon fiber to
cars of its high-performance sister brand Lamborghini.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at
crauwald@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Chad Thomas at
cthomas16@bloomberg.net
Tom Lavell

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