|My i3 REx. Will it now cost me $3,900 more than my contract calls for?|
It what can only be categorized as a major misstep, BMW of North America has announced that the i3 with range extender is not tax exempt in the state of New Jersey as what was previously reported. Back on January 27th, BMW of North America manager of Electric Vehicle sales and strategy Jacob Harb told his client advisers on a conference call that the i3 REx would be treated as a zero emission vehicle in New Jersey, and qualify for the state's Zero Emission tax exemption. That was big news at the time for New Jersey residents including myself, and was one of the final deciding factors for me to actually choose the REx version over the BEV i3.
"The sales tax exemption in NJ only applies to zero-emission vehicles--and as such, does not apply to the i3 with range-extender as it does not apply currently to any vehicle with an internal combustion engine."... "Any assumption that the i3 with range-extender would qualify was premature"
Dave Buchko, BMW's product and technology communications
The misinformation was further reinforced at the BMW i3 dealer training event held at BMW headquarters in Woodcliff Lake in April when the client advisers were again told that the i3 REx would be sales tax exempt in New Jersey. Now that BMW has begun delivering i3s with the range extender in the State since last week, the dealers haven't been collecting sales tax on the cars since they were instructed that they didn't have to. I'm one of the people that took delivery already and didn't pay sales tax. It's unclear if BMW is going to now ask me to go back to the dealer and pay the additional $3,900.00 I'd owe for sales tax. I'm not even sure they can do that. I have a signed contract that is paid in full and I wonder where the law stands on this. I don't even know if I'd want to keep it if I have to pay the sales tax now. Don't get me wrong; I love the car, and I think the REx is a great option, but this will double the cost of the range extender. Instead of it costing me $3,850, it will cost me about $7,750! It really is a great option and so far I have loved how well it works, but it's just not worth $7,750 in my opinion. I could buy a good used second car for less than that and use it for the long trips I need to take.
Then there are the people that have an i3 REx on order here in NJ and haven't taken delivery yet, what will they do? At the last minute they find out the car is now costing them nearly $4,000 more! My good friend Chris Neff's car just arrived at the dealer yesterday and he's planning on picking it up as soon as possible. I wonder how he's going to react to it now costing him nearly $4,000 more! My client adviser Manny Antunes of JMK BMW has nine i3s with the REx options on order for customers. How many will cancel their order when they find this out? I bet at least half of them. What happens to the people like me that have signed contracts, and paid for the car already? I wonder where the law stands on this? Can we now be forced to pay more than our contracts stipulate? Personally I'm not sure what I'll do if I'm told I have to pay the $3,900 now. Will BMW NA eat the extra cost for the few people that already took delivery of their REx in NJ? Will they push it on the dealers? Perhaps this was a sign that I was really meant to get the BEV i3 after all. I've already tinted the windows and now my car is being wrapped a new color at Designer Wraps down in Millville, NJ. Will JMK BMW end up with a custom-colored, Electronaut Edition i3 REx to sell as I wait another few months for a new i3 BEV to be made and delivered? This is going to be very interesting, stay tuned!