Buy An Electric Car Online? In Japan, BMW I3 Is Sold On Amazon

The direct online sales model used by Tesla Motors has ignited a vigorous discussion over the state laws that protect franchised dealers in the U.S.. Now the participants in that conversation have a new data point to consider in their debates a piece of electric-car news from Japan. The BMW i3 is now available in the country online through Amazon. So Japanese drivers can now buy a car from the same source many where people buy discounted books, cheap electronics, and clothing--and a million or so other items as well. The date on the announcement posted on BMW's Japanese press site--April 1--had us a bit suspicious, but a BMW spokesman subsequently confirmed the Amazon sales scheme to Yahoo News. There are presently 46 dealers selling the i3 in Japan, but BMW hopes online sales will boost its visibility, the unnamed spokesman said in Tokyo.