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Trevor Collett | Dec, 05 2013 | 1 Comment

UPDATE February 2014: High demand in Europe and the US, coupled with limited production capacity, has seen the i3's Australian debut pushed out to late in 2014.


As the 2014 BMW i3's arrival in Australian showrooms draws closer, reports out of the UK this week suggest BMW may have underestimated the car’s popularity.

More than 10,000 orders have already been placed for the all-electric and range-extended i3 in overseas markets, with UK dealers struggling to match the demand for test drives.

Speaking with Auto Express, BMW’s Ian Robertson reportedly said the waiting list for a BMW i3 test drive was “into months”.

“We have waiting lists into months for test drives. These cars need to be charged between each test, which takes some time [but] dealers are working hard to satisfy the demand,” Mr Robertson said.

There are currently 6,500 people on the waiting list for a test drive in the UK, with 1,500 of those having locked in a future appointment.

Since the i3’s launch, around 1000 potential buyers have already tested the car at a rate of 300 per week, spread across the 47 UK BMW dealers currently offering test drives.

If the current rate continues, it could be five months before a person signing up for a test drive today will get the chance to sample the i3.

Those who have already ordered an i3 in the UK face a minimum six-month-wait before they take delivery of the range-extended version, while orders for the all-electric model could take ten months to arrive.

It’s a similar story for BMW’s larger i8 model in the UK, with the wait on orders for the all-wheel-drive coupe stretching into 2015.

The news may serve as a warning to Australian dealers, with BMW’s local arm confirming in October that several deposits on the i3 have already been taken and more than 2000 people have expressed interest in a test-drive.

Initially, Australia is unlikely to match the UK’s 47 BMW i dealers, with only a handful of flagship BMW sites across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and potentially Perth flagged to stock the i3 at this stage.

 
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