About three to four years ago, Mini set out an ambitious goal of selling an annual volume of 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. But this goal would never come to fruition. Sales of Mini models have been in decline for the past few years partly due to buyers going towards light trucks and crossovers. BMW executives have since stepped back from this goal is considering whether or not to make Mini vehicles electric-only in the U.S.
For dealers, the mixed messages has them concerned. Jason Willis, member of the Mini National Dealer Council expressed these concerns in a interview with Automotive News.
"I don't think the dealers have a very clear vision of where the car line is going long term. There is a lot of pride on being a small-car performance company, so my guess is we will continue to be a small-car company. But as far as electric and how we fit in, we're still waiting to hear that plan," said Willis.
"Our biggest goal is to get a clear vision from Mini and the BMW Group of where the car line is going — whether we're going to continue to be a small-car brand. Are we going to go fully electric? What is the game plan over the next three, four, five years?"
Next month, Mini dealers will meet with BMW's leaders in Las Vegas. Willis hopes they get some answers, especially with electric vehicles.
"We're in the wait-and-see pattern on what electric vehicle demand really is going to be. Here in the Midwest, there's a lot of talk about electric cars but very little demand. Dealers just want to have a plan for the future. To be an electric-only car company, I'm not sure that is the goal that the dealers have. But to have some electric vehicle options to differentiate us in the market is a want,"
Willis also hopes BMW can give Mini more support in marketing in their products, along possibly offering a mainstream product.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)