Should MINI Get Back To … Being Mini?

MINI | November 28th, 2014 by 8
new mini john cooper works images 36 750x500

MINI sales have been down 5.3 percent this year. It’s no wonder that the British car maker is scrambling to find the best solution to …

MINI sales have been down 5.3 percent this year. It’s no wonder that the British car maker is scrambling to find the best solution to revive the brand and continue its success story. Even though MINI had strong sales in October, the upper management is hard at work to plan the future of the brand, which includes electric vehicles as well.

Currently, the carmaker has eight different models on sale and many believe it has diluted the brand and lost some of its most loyal fans.

A MINI fan has always fallen in love with the timeless and classic design, along with the unique go-kart driving experience, but we believe the bloated lineup has created half of MINI’s problems today.

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I’ve been to BMW Welt a few weeks ago, and beside the usual drooling over the BMW i8, everyone was focused on the various BMW models. First impression was that everyone was in awe with BMW’s latest models and you could feel the connection between consumers and the brand.

On the other hand, the MINI showroom was loud, filled with teenagers and random souvenirs like bags, cups and wallets,  branded with the British flag or MINI bold lettering. Instead of just focusing on promoting the cars, MINI stays true to promoting the brand as lifestyle, therefore attracting a different type of customer. Some conversations we’ve overhead revolved around the confusing direction the brand is heading towards and how the several niches have not paid off for MINI.

KISS MINI Countryman New York 2011 with the Band members 750x499

Overall, it seems MINI does a great job at branding itself as a youth-oriented brand, fun and hip, but is that enough to help the company grow? Are the eight models making things even more confusing? This is where it gets interesting.

To many, MINI is a Mini – notice the old branding which didn’t have all capital letters and they go back as far as the Mark I and III era. The Mini is a small 3-door vehicle with 100+ horsepower engine that can tackle the bends with ease and can be parked pretty much anywhere. Small, nimble and fast would be the best way to describe the perfect Mini. It’s not a coupe nor a convertible or a family crossover, and it certainly isn’t an off roader. All of those models were a huge bet for BMW and only one really paid off: MINI Countryman Crossover.


With that in mind, here are the four things MINI could do to to increase market share, attract new customers while still cater to its extremely loyal following:

  1. Reduce the lineup to three-four models: 3-door hatch, Convertible, Clubman and Countryman (there are already planning on doing this)
  2. Add a MINI-E option: following trends is important and we can see an all-electric MINI being a great contender in the electric vehicles market.
  3. While maintaining the classic MINI design cues, the design team needs to look into the future and take a chance. MINI Superleggera Concept is a great start.
  4. Create a MINI racing series. Sold at $50 000 pricing point, the race-oriented MINIs would allow many young individuals to take part in some exciting motoring events. A roll-cage, fire extinguisher combined with improved suspension, wheels and tires, stripped out interior, but still road legal versions would be one interesting way to spend your time.

The next few years are critical for the brand, but the current MINI design team is one of the most talented in the industry, so the hopes are high. At the helm, we have Anders Warming, former head of exterior design at BMW. His lieutenant is Christopher Weil, one of the most talented designers at BMW Group. His portfolio includes the BMW 328 Hommage, F30 3 Series, 5 Series GT, current 7 Series and 4 Series. The latest addition to the team is Florian Nissl, the young designer responsible for drawing the new M3 and M4.

With a talented designing team in place and great product managers, the MINI brand can reinvent itself and once again be the golden goose for BMW.

8 responses to “Should MINI Get Back To … Being Mini?”

  1. Quovadis69 says:

    Agreed! This designer created the MINI Zero concept that is an authentic and the spiritual successor of the classic Mini:

  2. Paul says:

    5 door mini ? And the countryman and paceman are not minis least the coupe and roadsters are actually on the same floor pan

  3. Paul says:

    The real reason they are struggling is they are over priced and no other reason I know lots of people that love the coupe and roadster but won’t pay the silly price tag they have

  4. BobMc says:

    The fact that most dealers could not get cars to sell because of production delays would not have any effect on sales, right. My wife and I have 2 current Minis and a classic, I would have bought at least one this year but could not get one I wanted.

  5. AnthLC says:

    When will the Luddite retro snobs get over new BMW mini being different to the original. The original mini was mechanically unreliable, a rust bucket and clearly unsafe in an accident.

    The original mini was banned from sale in USA for regulative changes around passenger safety. This is is the real reason the current mini is bigger then the original. Safety.

    But even though it has grown the current 2014 mini is no bigger then a A1 Audi or a VW Polo.

    I would never drive the original mini, but definitely the new 5 door mini. I want a modern mini, safety and comfort while still being a small fun, fast car. The current mini ticks all those boxes.

    If the BMW Mini executives are looking for reasons why sales are down it is the servicing costs and options are well and truly rip offs when people consider value.

    So make the mini options more affordable. They should not be a third of the cost of the car.
    Make a smaller model for the retro vintage dudes so they are happy too.

  6. Blake Arrendell says:

    Even though I own a countryman, I think MINI should remove the following models,
    -The Countryman
    -The Hardtop Four-door
    That would only leave the Hardtop, Clubman, and Convertible. I also believe they should add one smaller model, give the Clubman 4WD (As already promised), and make an EV version of the Hardtop.

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