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William Maley

Mini News: Dealers to Mini: Do You Have A Vision?

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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)


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Mini hey day is over. Those that wanted a cracker jack box sitting on the ground have them, the bulk of people want an auto that carries their stuff, friends and fits into an active lifestyle. The only one they have that does that is the Countryman that sits up higher and is a bit bigger inside. I can see them still having a model below this, but I think Mini needs to either grow some bigger versions or plan to accept limited sales to limited people.

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I like the brand but very limited head room with the concept.  BMW needs to cut their losses and come up with a new direction I think.

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When Mini was launched, Mini should never have been the name.... it should have been Cooper.

Then you can have the Cooper Mini, the Cooper Countryman, the Cooper Paceman, etc and jokes about "Mini being not so mini anymore" wouldn't happen.

And then, you could also have the Cooper Lineman, a 7-passenger SUV, the Cooper Brickman a "lifestyle truck", the Cooper Crossman a 5 seater crossover, etc.  It could have been BMW's answer to Mazda or Kia.

By sticking with the Mini name, they've boxed themselves into a corner.

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18 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

When Mini was launched, Mini should never have been the name.... it should have been Cooper.

Then you can have the Cooper Mini, the Cooper Countryman, the Cooper Paceman, etc and jokes about "Mini being not so mini anymore" wouldn't happen.

And then, you could also have the Cooper Lineman, a 7-passenger SUV, the Cooper Brickman a "lifestyle truck", the Cooper Crossman a 5 seater crossover, etc.  It could have been BMW's answer to Mazda or Kia.

By sticking with the Mini name, they've boxed themselves into a corner.

That is the problem with brands: it was a British choice to go Mini rather than Cooper.  Makes no sense here but perfect sense in Europe.  Then again, the USA is the home of BOF pickups and SUVs and the last vestiges of large sedans (soon to be replaced by large crossovers).  Unless you live in NYC or SF or any compact large city, the Mini makes zero sense almost anywhere else.  No wonder BMW is not investing in Mini like it used to: low gas prices will do that.

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Cooper wouldn't have made sense as the brand;  in the past Cooper signified a performance version of the Austin Mini (later Rover Mini).  

In past incarnations, since Mini was a model in brands with other models, its focus on subcompacts only wasn't an issue. 

As a standalone marque, it seems to run into a limitation of not having larger siblings. 

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One of my faves of the recent auto show here was the countryman and that was primarily due to it being a larger vehicle. It really is a sweet package. And then I asked myself. Is this as large as a mini can get?  I got out of the vehicle and looked at the msrp. Almost 50 grand. 

Cant sell in volume if you are 'mini' at that price. 

Edited by regfootball

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In today's market, it sounds like Mini needs a Maxi--a 3 row crossover above the Countryman. ;)

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