With increased consumer demand for electrified models, German automaker BMW today introduced the updated 2018 i8 Coupe at the North American International Auto Show at Detroit’s Cobo Center. The vehicle features increased power, range, and additional refinements. The U.S. was the top performing market for the brand’s i8 vehicles last year.
Bernhard Kuhnt, president and CEO of BMW North America, says the company achieved its goal of selling 100,000 electrified vehicles globally during 2017 (7 percent of the company’s units sold in the U.S. last year were electrified). Specifically, 10 percent of all BMW X5s and 5 Series sold in the U.S. were electrified, and the company expects 20 percent of U.S. 5 Series sales will be plug-in electric hybrids this year.
Nicholas Peter, a member of BMW’s board of management, also spoke about the company’s U.S. footprint during today’s press conference.
“We are proud to call the United States our second home and to be responsible for more than 70,000 jobs in this great country,” he says. “It is also home to our largest production site in the world: To date we have invested close to $9 billion in (South Carolina’s) Plant Spartanburg. We now build 1,400 vehicles there every day.
“By 2021, we will invest a further $600 million USD, plus $200 million in training and education, as well as create 1,000 more jobs. We’re proud that 70 percent of what we produce in the U.S. is exported. That makes BMW the most valuable exporter of American-made vehicles.”
By the end of 2019, BMW aims to have more than half a million electrified vehicles on the road worldwide. The company will launch BMW iNEXT with highly automated driving and a range of up to 435 miles in 2021.
Key dates for the 2018 Detroit Auto Show include:
- Jan. 14-21: AutoMobili-D
- Jan. 14-16: Press Preview
- Jan. 17-18: Industry Preview
- Jan. 19: Charity Preview
- Jan. 20-28: Public Show
For more information and for tickets, click here.