After a long time waiting, in November 2013, the first mass producing all-electric vehicle BMW i3 was eventually launched. It’s been estimated as the best electric car till now. Although i3 is treated as a turning point for high-tech electric vehicles, whether it will be a success is uncertain. There still exist some issues for all electric cars providers to solve. In this report, basing on the existing issues, a set of strategic actions to diffuse BMW i3 carried out by BMW will be discuss.
When releasing an electric car, all car manufactures face the risk of ‘selling the unknown’ to consumers (Brownsell, 2010). Although the electric car concept is never a new word to us, real electric car products are still unfamiliar to most consumers, especially comparing to conventional vehicles, which have already affected our life over 100 years. Doubts like ‘how far it can drive with a fully-charged battery’, ‘how safe the battery is’ etc. are still existing and those slow down the process of accepting. Gatignon and Robertson (1985) states that the perceived risk may produce negative influence on the rate of product adoption. When consumers feel uncertain about a new product, they will be reluctant to consume it in order to avoid the potential risk. Considering this issue, BMW worked out the Mini E field trial before the launch of BMW i3.
The all-electric car Mini E was a time-limited trial venture rather than a fully commercial product. Trial cars are leased to volunteers to drive and all operating data would be gathered and analyzed by special teams. The aim of the trial is to build a valid realization about what kind of electric car is required by consumers. BMW started the field testing in the UK as well as the USA, German, France, China and Japan through leasing over 600 trial vehicles (MINI.CO.UK, 2013). Thousands of volunteers were involved in this field trial. As a result, when it comes to the launching of BMW i3, people have already known something about it. According Gatignon and Robertson (1985), the first stage of the adoption process for a new product is awareness. In this case, the awareness stage of BMW i3 seems to shorter or even finished in advance. The awareness of BMW i3 started from the field trial of Mini E. Then, in the three-year duration of the testing, quantity of news reports and published research results came out. Even if there is only little information about what on earth BMW i3 looks like. Consumers’ awareness of BMW i3 has been confirmed gradually. At the point when BMW i3 was officially released, those who already heard of it would be reminded of all formerly gathered information. Combing with the Mini E field trial, the awareness stage of i3 tend to be finished quickly.
Afterwards, consumers enter into the interest stage. In this stage, consumers are looking for information about the new product actively, including the features, price and other relevant characteristics of the product (Gatignon and Robertson, 1985). BMW...