BMW i8 Import Banned

BMW i8 Import Banned
BMW i8 Import Banned

Iran has halted the import of BMW’s i8 hybrid electric-gasoline sports car due to a lack of “after-sales support” from the German company in the country, according to a new report.

The announcement originally published by Sobhane Online, which reports the notice by Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, said the imports of the high-end supercar will no longer continue due to inadequate support from the official manufacturer.

The report also noted that because of its undefined classification, the vehicle will not receive a license plate.

Up until recently, the vehicle had been imported in small numbers, officially 10 vehicles from Persian Gulf entry points, mainly the UAE. The car’s sale was previously allowed, making it one of the few imported hybrid vehicles.

The vehicle, if imported officially, should pay an import tariff of 4%, pricing the car at just under 5 billion rials ($149,000). However, the vehicle’s sale price in Tehran showrooms has now exceeded 10 billion rials ($300,000), registering a 100% price increase.

The confusion over the i8’s entry in the local market and its grossly inflated price points to a wider issue in regards to the import of hybrid vehicles.

In a previous Financial Tribune report earlier this year, the paper contacted the Customs Administration of Iran that declared only certain hybrid vehicles can be imported under the agreed 4% import tariff, namely the Lexus CT 200h, due to its “specific hybrid makeup”, according to a customs official.

In May 2014, President Hassan Rouhani’s administration stated that it had removed import tariffs on all electric and hybrid cars with engines of 2500 cc and smaller. The administration did not state whether it would allow only specific car manufacturers or how they would enforce the new law.

In a statement, Valiollah Afkhamirad, the deputy industries, mining and trade minister, at the time said this is the first time Iran has dropped import tariffs on electric and hybrid vehicles.

The official halt in sales is likely due to the automotive authorities in Iran not officially designating the car as a hybrid vehicle and hence, the confusion over price.  

The Trade Promotion Organization of Iran and the Customs Administration of Iran have not clarified the confusion over hybrid cars, but a further statement is likely to appear next week.

However, the BMW i8 continues to be sold in Tehran’s auto hub, specifically Motahhari Street, where it remains in full view of the public in several car galleries.

Car and Driver writes that the i8 plug-in hybrid is a truly revolutionary vehicle with its dihedral gull-wing doors, a shark-nose grille and a supercar stance. The interior seats four in trappings worthy of a top class hotel.

A turbocharged three-cylinder engine teams with two electric motors for a combined 357 hp; the i8 hits 100 km/h faster than an M3. Top speed is 200 km/h, but fuel economy is less than the average vehicle.

Handling is agile and steering sharp; braking is great for any car, let alone a hybrid.