Press Report : MINI aims to extend US product range

Diana T. Kurylko, Automotive News Europe, 31st August, 2010

BMW plans to expand MINI’s product range in the United States in an effort to boost sales and keep dealers profitable as the brand’s U.S. network expands to 120 stores, from 86.

After flying high for several years with record sales, MINI has stalled in 2010.

MINI’s most daring new vehicle is the Countryman, due early next year. Executives hope the small four-door crossover will attract customers who want more interior room than MINI’s cars currently offer.

Here are MINI’s product plans for 2010-12.

MINI E: The electric vehicle is being tested with 450 lessees in New York, New Jersey and California. The test will continue until 2011. There are no current plans for volume production.

MINI Cooper: A freshening is planned for the autumn. The third generation comes in 2014 using a new front-drive, four-wheel-drive architecture that MINI will share with a new range of entry-level BMWs.

Clubman: The three-door compact wagon may be restyled in 2012.

Countryman: MINI’s first crossover goes on sale in the United States early in 2011. It is the brand’s first four-door vehicle and has a raised seating position. U.S. pricing hasn’t been announced, but in Europe the base price will be 20,200 euros, or about $26,000, when the car goes on sale there in September.

Roadster: A soft-top version of the Coupe Concept introduced at last year’s Frankfurt auto show is planned for 2012.

Small coupe: MINI plans to add a two-seat coupe in late 2011 that is based on the Coupe Concept. The concept is based on the roadster but has a shorter wheelbase and no rear seat.

Entry-level car: MINI is considering an entry-level car that would be smaller than the Cooper and have a shorter wheelbase. The car, dubbed the MINI Mini or the MINI Minor, is being developed by BMW’s Project i group, which is working on fuel-efficient city cars. If approved, the new car would compete with the Smart ForTwo.

[Source: Automotive News Europe]

Clive Goldthorp

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