The all-electric i3 is a pivotal car for BMW. It’s the company’s first-ever regular-production electric vehicle, it inaugurated BMW’s i sub-brand and it has now become the first car that can be purchased on Amazon.
Starting this week, tech-savvy car shoppers in Japan car buy or lease a brand new BMW i3 in just a few clicks. The i3 has its own Amazon page with a full gallery of high-res pictures, a detailed description of the car, basic technical specifications and a list of the major options such as the gasoline-powered range extended. The web page replaces the traditional brochure that is given to buyers when they visit a dealership.
Buying an i3 online is a little more complicated than buying, say, a scale model of an i3, and it goes without saying that features like one-click ordering and lightning-fast drone delivery are not available. After adding the car to their shopping cart, buyers need to wait a day or two for a BMW representative to give them a call and ask them to send a number of documents including proof that they have a parking space and that they have access to a charging station.
Speaking with Agence France-Presse, BMW’s Japanese division explained that it hopes selling the i3 online will enable it to reach a wider audience by targeting buyers who don’t have the time to stop by a dealership, who live far away from one or who simply think that buying a car is a hassle. Currently, just 46 of BMW’s Japanese dealers sell i-branded vehicles.
The Munich-based automaker has not revealed if it plans on selling other models on Amazon and whether or not it will offer the i3 online in other markets in the coming months. We suspect that the future of the virtual showroom largely depends on what kind of reaction this new approach to selling cars generates from Japanese i3 buyers.