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William Maley

Mini News: Mini Lineup To Grow To Ten, No New Body Styles Though

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By William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

February 16, 2013

We known for a time that the Mini lineup would be growing to ten models, but we weren't quite sure how that would happen. Well Car and Driver had the chance to talk with Mini U.S. product planning manager Patrick McKenna about the possibilities.

Model eight is the new Mini Clubvan, while nine and ten will not be a new body style. Instead, nine and ten will be a front-wheel-drive hybrid and a second-generation electric Mini, both based on the three-door Cooper.

Also in the pipeline is the new Cooper which will debut in November and come with a turbocharged three-cylinder engine and a next-generation Clubman.

One model that will not be coming is the Rocketman, that has been canned.

Source: Car and Driver

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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What, no cheeky little pickup?

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Blah, the bulk of the Mini Lovers have their cars and now they are just putting frosting on the same old tired Mule and it will cost them. I do not see them increasing sales but canibalizing existing sales with no gain.

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^ Agreed; the 'trip down memory lane' has played it's hand, and Mini is locked into the look so rigidly they are unable to deviate from it. That said, the design is now coming up on TWENTY YEARS OLD, with the sole MCE being an incredible mirror image. Development is dead on the vine.

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If they can parlay the Mini mystique as successfully as Porsche has with their 911, they have nothing to worry about.

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^ Agreed; the 'trip down memory lane' has played it's hand, and Mini is locked into the look so rigidly they are unable to deviate from it. That said, the design is now coming up on TWENTY YEARS OLD, with the sole MCE being an incredible mirror image. Development is dead on the vine.

Twenty? Exaggerate much? The New Mini has only been out for little over a decade... besides, the original design lasted for around 40 years, so I wouldn't expect revolutionary change..

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Feels like almost 20. "Went on sale July 2001" - so coming up on 12 years old. An "eternity" in the opinion of most armchair auto industry critics, who begin to sweat when a car goes without changes after 2 years.

Edited by balthazar

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^ Ahh, but the mini should fit into your definition of mass-produced appliances, being FWD and all, no? ;)

Nah...it's a niche product...

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Mini is FWD, but no appliance. Didn't the original pioneer the idea of FWD/transverse engine for max passenger room formula back in the 50s? So it is absolutely appropriate it has FWD... essential to concept.

That may not have been your point, Balthy, but you know wut I mean.

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Mini is FWD, but no appliance. Didn't the original pioneer the idea of FWD/transverse engine for max passenger room formula back in the 50s? So it is absolutely appropriate it has FWD... essential to concept.

That may not have been your point, Balthy, but you know wut I mean.

Yes...the Mini is pretty much the original FWD subcompact...the original set the template for all that was to come. By appliances I mean bland commodity cars that the mainstream buys in volume---Camry, Malibu, Corolla, Cruze, Altima, etc...functional product that get people you point A to point B but offer nothing interesting or distinctive. The Mini is stylish and distinctive, more than a mere appliance.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai.
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      Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand".
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      Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions.
      A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode.
      For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
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      When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology.
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      Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling.
      The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends.
      As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road.
      “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow.
      All future Polestar cars will feature a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3. Polestar 2 is currently in the engineering phase and will start production before the end of 2019, delivering higher volumes than Polestar 1.
      Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing.
      “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath.
      A contemporary approach for modern performance customers.
      Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience.
      At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis.
      The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services.
      Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage.
      As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice.
      Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer.
      Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office.
      The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car.
      “Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar.
      Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however.
      Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical).
      All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to.
      Polestar also recognises that as a new entrant into the electrified automotive segment, customers still want to physically engage with the brand.
      The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom.
      The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow.
      Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing
      The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.
      Polestar Production Centre
      Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group.
      The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway.
      The new Polestar Production Centre will also house one of the first Polestar Spaces, with a customer test track constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to extremes not possible on public roads.
      When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
      “Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”.
    • By William Maley
      BMW Group U.S. Reports September 2017 Sales
      BMW brand sales increase 0.7 percent MINI brand sales decrease 7.2 percent Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 3, 2017… Sales of BMW brand vehicles increased 0.7 percent in September for a total of 25,571 compared to 25,389 vehicles sold in September 2016. Year-to-date, the BMW brand is down 4.3 percent in the U.S. on sales of 220,175 vehicles compared to 230,133 sold in the first nine months of 2016.
      Notable vehicle sales in September include the BMW 4 Series and BMW 5 Series, which both showed strong gains for the third straight month, and the BMW X5. The BMW 4 Series increased 58.9 percent to 3,637 vehicles, while the BMW 5 Series increased 144.4 percent to 3,718 vehicles. The BMW X5 increased 6.0 percent to 3,975 vehicles.
      “The hot summer has given way to autumn and an uptick in sales, fueled in part by continued strong demand for the new 5 Series, as well as demand in Texas and Florida where customers are now replacing their flood and hurricane damaged vehicles,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “We are also anticipating growth in our Sports Activity Vehicles as expansion at our X model plant in South Carolina means we’ll have more X5’s this month followed by the eagerly awaited introduction of the all-new X3 in November.”
      MINI Brand Sales
      For September, MINI USA reported 3,736 vehicles sold, a decrease of 7.2 percent from the 4,024 sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, MINI USA reported a total of 34,787 vehicles sold, a decrease of 10.6 percent from 38,911 vehicles sold in the first nine months of 2016.
      BMW Group Sales
      In total, the BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported September sales of 29,307 vehicles, a decrease of 0.4 percent from the 29,413 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, BMW Group sales are down 5.2 percent on sales of 254,962 vehicles in the first nine months of 2017 compared to 269,044 in the same period in 2016.
      BMW Group Electrified Vehicle Sales
      Sales of BMW Group electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles increased 14.9 percent to 13,533 through September 2017 (YTD), accounting for 5.3 percent of total BMW Group sales in the U.S. Currently, BMW offers six electrified vehicle models in the U.S., including the BMW i3 and BMW i8, as well as the BMW i Performance models: BMW 330e, BMW 530e, BMW 740e and the BMW X5 xDrive 40e. MINI offers the MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which launched in June 2017.

    • By William Maley
      BMW Group U.S. Reports July 2017 Sales
      BMW brand sales decrease 14.8 percent MINI brand sales decrease 7.9 percent Woodcliff Lake, NJ - August 1, 2017... Sales of BMW brand vehicles decreased 14.8 percent in July for a total of 21,965 compared to 25,777 vehicles sold in July 2016. Year-to-date, the BMW brand is down 4.6 percent in the U.S. on sales of 171,051 vehicles compared to 179,213 sold in the first seven months of 2016.
      Notable vehicle sales in July include the BMW 4 Series which increased 31.1 percent to 2,866 cars, the BMW 5 Series which increased 12.4 percent to 3,713 vehicles, and the BMW X5 which increased 8.8 percent to 2,986 vehicles.
      “Sedans made something of a comeback in July even as the dog days and summer vacations had their effect on the pace of business,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “The new BMW 5 Series continues gaining as availability improves. The highly popular BMW X3 is now undergoing model changeover and we are looking forward to the market launch of the all-new model later this year.”
      BMW Group Sales
      In total, the BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported July sales of 26,363 vehicles, a decrease of 13.7 percent from the 30,551 vehicles sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, BMW Group sales are down 5.5 percent on sales of 197,654 vehicles in the first seven months of 2017 compared to 209,131 in the same period in 2016.
      MINI Brand Sales
      For July, MINI USA reported 4,398 automobiles sold, a decrease of 7.9 percent from the 4,774 sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, MINI USA reported a total of 26,603 automobiles sold, a decrease of 11.1 percent from 29,918 automobiles sold in the first seven months of 2016.

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