Mini’s third generation of cars will be pared back to just five models, according to the Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the British brand.
Speaking yesterday in Munich, Schwarzenbauer said the new five-door Mini Clubman would be launched in 2015 and would be the third of “five super hero” models for the brand, the first two being the three-door and five-door hatchbacks. The fourth model will be a replacement for the Countryman.
BMW sources were less forthcoming about the fifth model, but it is expected to be a convertible, which could incorporate much of the design language of the recent Mini Superleggera roadster concept.
Plug-in hybrid versions of the Mini could also arrive over the next five years, Schwarzenbauer said.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenbauer revealed that October and November saw double-digit growth for Mini as the third-generation three-door hatchback and new five-door model came on stream.
He predicted that the last three months of 2014 would be the “best ever” for Mini sales. In 2013 Mini sold 305,000 cars globally.
The decision to restrict Mini to five main models was part of a board-level decision to send Mini in a new direction for the future, he 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.”
Schwarzenbauer hinted that access to Mini and its dealers would shift to a “24/7” basis. “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.”
Schwarzenbauer also said Mini buyers were increasingly opting for more powerful and more highly specified vehicles. Sales of the Cooper S models have grown from 25 per cent of overall sales to 34 per cent and JCW models now account for five per cent of sales.
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