Four dealerships in South Africa will sell the BMW i3 electric city car and the i8 hybrid sports car when these vehicles go on sale in the domestic market in March.
BMW Group South Africa (SA) said on Monday that these dealerships would be Club Motors Fountains, in Pretoria; Sandton Auto, in Johannesburg; SMG, in Cape Town; and Supertech, in Durban.
The local arm of the German carmarker also provided indicative pricing for the models, at R525 000 for the standard i3, and R595 000 for the i3 with range extender.
Driving the i8 will cost just short of R1.76-million.
“We congratulate the four dealerships that have been selected,” said BMW Group SA MD Tim Abbott.
“Due to the nature of BMW i target groups and product characteristics, we believe that the demand is likely to be centered in urban areas, specifically for the BMW i3. For this reason, we are initially focusing our sales and marketing activities on regions with the strongest demand.
“Activities could be extended at any time to other regions and BMW i sales partners in the event of rising demand, or a different distribution of demand.”
“In this regard while we will launch BMW i with four dealers. We plan to install a fifth dealer immediately after a successful BMW i launch in 2015.”
The four BMW i sales dealers would service and repair BMW i vehicles under basic and high voltage service formats only. All body repairs covering aluminium and carbon fibre components would be conducted at an i service facility installed at the BMW Group SA vehicle distribution centre in Rosslyn, Pretoria.
The announcement of the dealer network on Monday followed an announcement last year that BMW would partner with Schneider Electric, an international expert in electrical mobility, to install home-charging BMW i WallBoxes for the BMW i3 and i8.
The partnership agreement included checking the electrical installation in customers’ homes, supplying and assembling the WallBox charging point, as well as maintenance and other services for BMW i vehicles.
This would allow future owners of an i3 or i8 to hook up their vehicles safely, quickly recharging it in the comfort of their home or office, noted BMW Group SA.
The recommended retail price for the WallBox Pure and standard installation was set at R25 000, including tax.
The professional installation of the BMW i WallBox was viewed as one of the key factors for the success of BMW i range.
The BMW i3 was recently awarded Green Car of The Year, while the BMW i8 had been named as Top Gear UK magazine’s global Car of the Year 2014.
Globally, around 17 800 customers had taken delivery of an BMW i vehicle in 2014.
Global deliveries of the BMW i3 reached 16 052 units last year, with nearly three-quarters of these sales in the second half of the year.
The keys to 1 741 BMW i8s had been handed over to customers since the sportscar went on sale last year.
In South Africa, the only full electric vehicle on sale locally was the Nissan Leaf, selling 14 vehicles last year, with several hybrid models available in the domestic market.