Pay me now or pay me later is perhaps the best way to describe the new finance plan being offered by BMW Group Financial Services for the 2014 BMW i3, which carries a base MSRP of $42,275 including destination charges. Called OwnersChoice with Flex, the program allows buyers of the i3 to increase the end-of-term balloon payment by as much as $7,500 in order to lower the monthly payments. The customer can choose to buy the car for the balloon payment or can return the car in exchange for a predetermined vehicle price and pay the remaining amount of the balloon payment at that time.
The $7,500 amount happens to be the same as the federal tax credit offered by the U.S. government on electric vehicles. While that tax credit effectively lowers the acquisition costs of the EV, buyers usually have to pay the full price of the vehicle upfront and then apply for the credit when they file their taxes the next year.
Fred Isele, vice president of sales and marketing for BMW Group Financial Services, said the program is similar to a lease in that it provides low monthly payments followed by a balloon payment, although the customer actually owns the vehicle rather than the lessor. "Owners can gain a comfortable payment for one of the highest technological and efficient premium electric vehicles available to date, and know we've created end-of-term options including optional return of the vehicle, while providing with a means to own the vehicle."
OwnersChoice will be available in all states except Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
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