Currently reading: Mini to reinvent itself with new premium image
New Clubman will be aimed at booming global 'premium compact market'

BMW is "realigning the product and brand strategy" of Mini, according to Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand. The announcement was made at the unveiling of the new Mini Clubman in Berlin.

The first move is the launch of the new Clubman, which Schwarzenbauer says is targeted at "the premium compact class".

The new model – which is a significant 293mm longer and 115mm wider than its unconventional predecessor – has an entry-price of £19,995 and is intended to compete with the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class hatchback, as well as more premium versions of the Volkswagen Golf.

BMW says the new Clubman should open up a whole new market for the brand because the car offers "long-distance suitability, versatility and comfort". Schwarzenbauer also said Mini would "open ourselves up to new ideas and new business areas. We will develop the brand’s visual identity".

The upshot is that BMW is expected to send the Mini brand image upmarket, launching a new visual identity for the brand, its dealers and the brand marketing. The ‘cheeky’ image that has been used since Mini was relaunched in 2001 is expected to be reinvigorated, with insiders suggesting they feel the brand has lost its unique identity as it has been copied so extensively by rivals.

Schwarzenbauer said the new Clubman is "entering the premium compact market segment….which promises the strongest growth in the future.

"Market studies forecast annual growth of 4% for the premium compact segment, which will account for more than 27% of the total global premium passenger market by 2020."

BMW is also expecting to increase the profitability of the Mini brand in the future through a greater uptake of options and high-spec models. The company expects Cooper S models to account for "up to a third of sales in the medium term". It also expects the performance John Cooper Works line to double its share of Mini sales to 5%.

"Since its creation in 1959, the Mini brand has always stood for ideas, inspiration and passion," Schwarzenbauer added. "That will not change. The new Mini Clubman is the symbol of refined brand philosophy. We will concentrate in future on five core models with strong characters."

Four of the five core models are thought to be the new Hatchback and Mini Clubman as well as the upcoming Cabriolet and Mini Countryman.

There is still no news on whether the Mini Superleggera roadster concept will make production, although it could be a sister model to the upcoming BMW Z4 replacement, which is itself is partnered with a new Toyota model.

Mini could also produce a larger, more mainstream crossover as a big brother to the Countryman.

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Some 163,000 Minis were delivered in the first half of this year, and the company is expecting the whole of 2015 to be a record sales year for the brand.

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Daniel Joseph 26 June 2015

That new logo..., I guess, meant to look cleaner and more modern than the existing one. I think it just looks cheap. Wonder what it cost?
Norma Smellons 26 June 2015

Mini's biggest problem is

Mini's biggest problem is that not enough blokes are buying their cars. The brand's big USP was customisation and while this has been wildly popular it has also caused a few problems. Namely, customers generally specify just two types of Mini - a cartoonish girlie one in lurid colours (which are everywhere) or a subdued, aggressive-looking, blokey one (much less common). They've made it too easy for owners to express their "style" and the brand has become if not polarising then certainly irritating.
Beastie_Boy 26 June 2015

The haters continue to grow ever tiresome...

Who cares how big it is. It's been a huge success for BMW and as a result, they employ 1000s in the UK. If you are that precious about the old, original Mini I suggest you go and drive one. You'll soon be reminded how crap they actually were.
Daniel Joseph 26 June 2015


Beastie_Boy wrote:

Who cares how big it is. It's been a huge success for BMW and as a result, they employ 1,000s in the UK. If you are that precious about the old, original Mini I suggest you go and drive one. You'll soon be reminded how crap they actually were.

In fairness, the original Mini was very clever and innovative in 1959, but you could never build a car today of anything like that size to accommodate four, given modern safety requirements. I imagine that a motorway drive today in an original Mini would be an unpleasant, if not terrifying, experience. Actually, the spiritual successor to the Mini is not any of its BMW-era successors, but something like the VW Up! Beastie_Boy's point about celebrating the UK jobs MINI supports is most pertinent. Here's a thought: if you don't like any of the new MINIs, then just ignore them!