MINI’s cars keep getting bigger, but the British brand’s line-up will soon shrink.
Speaking at an event in Munich this week, BMW executive Peter Schwarzenbauer said that in the future, the MINI brand will focus exclusively on ‘superhero’ models.
Don’t get too excited, though. Schwarzenbauer isn’t suggesting the brand will offer nothing but high-performance John Cooper Works models. No; to a bean-counting board member, ‘superhero’ means ‘volume’.
This means that MINI will reduce its range from eight to five lines in the near future, with the current Coupe and Roadster models among the first to go.
If volume is the key, we can expect MINI’s future range to focus on the original three-door Cooper and the new five-door version, along with the Cooper Cabriolet, Clubman wagon and the Countryman SUV.
Schwarzenbauer offered no further details, although it is expected that when the next-generation Countryman enters, there will be no three-door Paceman on its arm.
It has also been rumoured that rather than considering the Cabrio as one of those five model lines, it will be regarded as a variant in the three-door Cooper range (which is essentially true). This would allow MINI one final model, this time a genuine ‘superhero’: the Superleggera roadster.
Outlining the plan this week, Schwarzenbauer said: “this is work in progress, but we are continually questioning Mini’s future.”
“We will adjust the brand quite a lot over several years. The heritage will still be important, but we also have to be shaped by the zeitgeist,” he added.
Schwarzenbauer also touched on MINI’s potential as a pioneering brand for the wider BMW group, including the ways it interacts with buyers.
“We believe society is going through another significant change, just as it did at the millennium," he said. "The next 10 years of the auto industry will see more change than the last 100 years.”
“People are demanding more information about the way a product is made and how it is sourced. People are looking for a more sustainable lifestyle and we are now seeing the growth of a ‘sharing’ economy.”
As for hero variants in each model line, those aren’t going anywhere.
Schwarzenbauer says that orders for Cooper S models have grown to account for 34 percent of all orders, while top-shelf JCW models own a respectable five percent of sales.
Perhaps the only real loss in this news is that we may now never see the 'proper Mini' Rocketman concept in production.
Poor form, MINI, poor form.
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