BMW will end production of the i3 in Leipzig in July 2022. The reason for this is probably the conversion of the plant for the production of future electric models.
The British magazine Autocar reports on the end of production, citing a spokesperson for the manufacturer. The information can therefore be regarded as certain and not as speculation. In December 2019, BMW boss Oliver Zipse had still stated that the i3 would be built in Leipzig until 2024. At the time, it was still suspected that the i3 would receive another model update to make it fit for sale by 2024. However, such an update failed to materialise, making an earlier end more likely.
The now apparently early end for the i3 comes against the background of the restructuring of the Leipzig plant in the second half of 2022 in preparation for the start of production of the new generation Mini Countryman, which, as reported, will also be produced with pure electric drive at the BMW plant in Leipzig from 2023. As the i3 is based on a stand-alone platform with an aluminium chassis and carbon fibre passenger cell, the production facilities for the Countryman will have to be rebuilt based on BMW’s FAAR front-wheel drive architecture.
The BMW i3 is also being discontinued because the electric version of the new X1, the iX1, will be launched later this year. The iX1 was originally to be built at a new production facility in Debrecen, Hungary. Due to delays in construction, it will now be produced at the BMW plant in Regensburg until 2024, according to Autocar. Although the iX1 is about 40 centimetres longer than the i3, it offers a similar amount of space in the interior due to its combustion engine platform. Thus, BMW wants to position the iX1 as a kind of successor despite the different body concept.
Production of the i3, launched in 2013, had passed the 200,000 unit mark in October 2021. By the time it is discontinued in July 2022, BMW expects to have produced 250,000 units of the i3. With the battery update in 2018 to 42.2 kWh gross, the i3’s registration numbers had been steadily increasing. In Germany, the nine-year-old model still came in at 12,178 new registrations in 2021, ranking 10th among electric cars – ahead of models like the Opel Corsa-e, Audi e-tron and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
There had previously been multiple speculations about the BMW i3’s demise. At the end of 2019, in the face of speculation about the model’s future, Zipse had stated, as mentioned, that the i3 would “continue to be built into 2024”. Then, in June 2021, it was revealed that BMW planned to end i3 sales in the US as early as July 2022 – the date now confirmed for the model’s end of production. The end of the i3 is also interesting in terms of nomenclature: An all-electric BMW 3 Series will be launched in China, which could receive the i3 branding.
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