BMW's Mini division is considering some big changes in the near future. As it ponders the future of it's small car line-up, it's thought that the company will end production of some of it's current models. Don't worry, the brand's core models, the Mini Cooper Hardtop and the Cooper Countryman will be here for a long time; but the other Mini models are less secure, likely to be replaced once they reach the end of their product cycle.
During an interview at the 2013 New York Auto Show, the Mini U.S.A.'s vice president Jim McDowell said that while models will be replaced, "we won't replace every model exactly."
The brand has evolved from two models to the current seven, and is gearing up to start the next generation of Minis in a year's time. The company knows that the market can withstand a line-up of seven Mini models, and they are looking to experiment within the 7 variations.
Currently in North America, Mini's offerings include the Mini Cooper Coupe, Convertible, Clubman, Roadster, and Paceman, in addition to their two core models the Cooper Hardtop and Countryman which account for about 75 percent of the brand's sales. The company sold a record 66,200 Minis in the US last year, and almost 50,000 of those US sales comprised of the Hardtop and the Countryman.
Parent company BMW is developing a front wheel drive platform, that will be shared with the next generation of Minis. The first to use it, the Mini Hardtop is expected to hit the market next March.
Five of the seven Mini models are made in the UK, while two are manufacturered in Austria. Responding to increasing worldwide demand for premium brands, Mini is adding additional production plants in new markets outside of Europe for the first time. The company has just announced that due to the Mini's growing popularity in India, where they have opened five Mini showrooms, the company will begin assembling Countryman models in that country at a factory in Chennai, where it already builds several BMW models for the Indian market. Recently, India has become an increasingly significant market for the BMW Group, and has become the 100th global market for Mini sales.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca