Official Release: Good afternoon everyone and welcome to MINI.
This is the all-electric MINI E, with zero emissions.
With over 600 MINI E, we have the largest fleet of electric cars involved in an international pilot project. The project has been running for just over six months now in the US and Germany and 40 MINI E hit the streets of UK at the end of last year. The MINI E is also scheduled to be in France at some stage later in 2010. The learnings from the project will provide us with valuable information which will flow into the development of our Megacity Vehicle and other electric vehicles at the BMW Group. So, what have some of our MINI E drivers been saying here in the US? They feel that:
* The range is appropriate for urban life.
* The charging time is acceptable.
* And last but certainly not least, “it is really fun to drive the MINI E!”
With the MINI E, technology meets sustainability.
And I’m pleased to announce today that the BMW Group has decided to extend the lease programme for the MINI E here in the United States. This is our reaction to the popular demand by our test drivers around the country.
So, after the milestone 50th year at MINI, how do things look? MINI certainly held its own in last year’s very challenging business year. Last year 216,538 MINIs were sold worldwide and 45,225 in the US. Worldwide, MINI’s sales were down by 6.8 percent, which is an impressive result, considering the challenges of last year.
In the US, sales were down roughly 16.4 percent compared to 2008, but in a segment which was down by well over 40 percent. Therefore we are quite pleased with MINI’s performance in a very challenging year. It was the second best year since the launch of the brand in 2002 here in the US. And the US remains the largest single MINI market worldwide and the dealer network has grown to 90 dealers across the US. To prepare for the future growth of MINI we are committed to expanding the dealer network in the US. We’ll be adding a total of around 17 new dealerships in the next years and we expect to already well exceed 100 in 2010.
By introducing new products and opening up new segments MINI stays at the leading edge of the premium small car segment.
As you know, we began with the hardtop when we re-launched MINI in 2001. With this car, we created the premium small car segment and began a new success story for MINI. Since then we’ve sold around 1.7 million vehicles, we’ve added the Convertible and Clubman and we’ve already given you a glimpse of how some future members of the MINI family will look.
The MINI portfolio will double in the next two years. Last September in Frankfurt we revealed two concept vehicles, the MINI Coupé and MINI Roadster, both of which we’ve confirmed for production in Oxford. And I’m really looking forward to having these two cars join the MINI family and I’m sure that they’re going to be very appealing to US customers.
Another new addition which I’m really excited about is what we call the MINI Crossover – which will be available in Europe later this year and in the US in early 2011. The Crossover will be the first MINI which has all-wheel-drive, four doors, four full-size seats and measures around four metres long.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about this car next month, so stay tuned.
Today, MINI would like to once again demonstrate its potential for further concepts. We’ll now provide you with an exciting look at what the future could hold for MINI. MINI is always open for the unexpected – and that’s why we’ve brought the summer to wintry Detroit!
I’m proud to present the MINI Beachcomber Concept.
The inspiration for the MINI Beachcomber Concept is clearly born from the MINI Crossover, combined with the vision of a radically open body concept. The result is a MINI that’s tough, fearless and ready for any open air adventure.
It provides a highly emotional driving experience where you are in close contact with your surroundings, whether it’s cruising through town, enjoying rough tracks in the mountains, or breezing along the beach. It offers extreme freedom in driving.
Through its robust and versatile character, the MINI Beachcomber Concept also captures the spirit of the Mini Moke, which stood for adventurous motoring back in the sixties. The rugged appearance and the minimal body components and interior clearly reflect elements of the Mini Moke. This is further accentuated by the overall design language, such as the characteristic radiator grille.
This concept has a new innovative all-wheel drive system, ALL4, as well as an elevated seating position. The MINI Beachcomber Concept can be driven without doors, a conventional roof and all other body elements which might limit the intensity of the open driving experience.
This car retains its special character in all road and weather conditions. In the event of bad weather, drivers can quickly use the soft roof and lightweight doors.
And with this car, MINI once again emphasizes the brand’s typical driving fun, lifestyle and premium quality.
Thank you for joining us today.