The BMW i8 hybrid sporty car will hit the Chinese car market in September. It will be very expensive. Chinese automotive media report that price will start at 1.98 million yuan and and at 2.18 million yuan. That is $321.000 to $354.000. In the United States price will start at $135.700.
The difference can partly be explained by import taxes. However, the i8 is fitted with a tiny 1.5 liter 3-cylinder which would normally put it in China’s lowest import tax category. With all taxes included price should be more than $200.000. The rest seems pure profit for BMW, a company that knows very well it can charge wealthy Chinese whatever it wants for the high-tech i8, which is highly anticipated in China.
This greed might backfire one day. The Chinese government is starting to look seriously into overpricing practices by automakers. BMW was already forced to lower prices of its spare parts, and an inquiry into the price of its cars is expected to follow soon.