MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- Cheap gasoline may make electric cars an even harder sell, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, said.
Sales of the zero-emission vehicles will probably dip in some countries, including the U.S., Robertson said on the sidelines of the DLD-15 (Digital-Life-Design) conference in Munich on Monday.
"There are some short-term changes that will occur in some countries,” Robertson said. “There would be some moves toward some bigger-engine vehicles.”
A short-term shift away from cars such as the BMW i3 battery powered city car will not change BMW’s strategy, Robertson said. Up next is a plug-in hybrid version of its X5 SUV.
“The legislative framework in the U.S. and Europe, China and Japan is clear, and it’s not going to change,” Robertson said. “The advent of zero-emission cars is coming, so our strategy remains on that track.”
In the U.S. gasoline prices have fallen to less than $2 a gallon and consumers are turning from more expensive eco-friendly vehicles with hybrid or electric powertrains toward bigger models with conventional motors.
U.S. sales of hybrid and electric cars were 570,475 vehicles last year, down 4 percent compared with a year earlier, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association.
In 2014, BMW delivered 16,052 of its i3 cars globally, as well as 1,741 of the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Combined, the two accounted for 0.8 percent of the vehicles BMW sold last year.