New Orleans — BMW Group’s North American chief said Friday that the German automaker’s hybrid and electric i sub-brand could one day comprise 10 to 15 percent of BMW’s global sales.
Ludwig Willisch, president and chief executive of BMW of North America, made the estimation Friday during a J.D. Power & Associates event Friday ahead of the National Automobile Dealers Association annual conference, though no long-term timeline was given.
“It’s really a guessing game,” Willisch said. “Still the internal combustion engine will still be the major drivetrain, even 10 years from now.”
BMW’s series of i vehicles will first consist of the all-electric i3 and the plug-in i8.
Hybrid and electric vehicles made up less than 3 percent of all new global vehicle sales in 2013. That figure could rise to 7 percent, or about 6.6 million sales annually, according to a recent study.
BMW created the i sub-brand in 2011 as a targeted way to market hybrid and electric vehicles.
In the U.S., the i3 goes on sale in April and the i8 will hit dealer lots in the summer.