BMW will make a play for the hearts of enthusiasts and collectors with the i8 Roadster, once the initial surge of orders for the new model settles.
At the international launch of the plug-in hybrid roadster, i8 product manager, Marcus Pluntke, revealed BMW’s long-term plan already includes special edition cars to keep sales buoyant and appeal to collectors once i8 Roadster demand settles.
“The roadster will definitely be another volume push, as the Coupe as been on the market for four years so there are people longing for the Roadster,” Pluntke told CarAdvice.
“We have already over 1000 pre-orders for the Roadster, so that will be a volume push.”
When asked if the company had a strategy in place to counteract the traditional sports car sales slump after those initial orders are filled, Pluntke indicated a series of ‘Edition’ cars, as already seen on the i8 Coupe, were the likely solution.
“You might have heard of the Editions we did for the i8 so far, last year and the year before?” Pluntke said.
“Also to add more variety and more individuality, because the car is very special and customers asked for even more specialised version, so that is a nice tool we might come back to in the future.”
“I mean the car is very special already, but of course this kind of special car also attracts very special customers and they want to have the peak of exclusivity.”
But while limited edition cars like the Protonic Red Edition of 2016 and Protonic Frozen Black and Frozen Yellow cars (top of page) of 2017 will provide some extra appeal with unique interior and exterior styling themes, owners will still be limited in their scope to customise the new variant.
While mainstream BMW models have a full range of personalisation options through the BMW Individual program, production line limitations at the i8’s Leipzig factory mean adding extra options beyond the set range of colour and trim finishes on offer won’t be possible.
“The individual program is really that far and big of a range that it is quite challenging to integrate it smoothly into the production, and that really is the key, to do it smoothly.” Pluntke explained.
Although production constraints rule Individual customisation out right now, as the factory moves to a more relaxed output pace the Individual program could become another way for BMW to keep buyers interested in its niche model.
“We are looking at that. To introduce it to the i8 and to the production in Leipzig. Let’s see what will happen.”