Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member in charge of MINI, told Automotive News that the British marque is considering a premium compact sedan for production. Schwarzenbauer said this is one of the options to grow the brand, including the Superleggera Roadster.
“It is a question you have to look at economically, and around the world you could say the sedan has the biggest potential, volume-wise,” said Schwarzenbauer. The MINI boss says that the Superleggera would be a halo car for MINI so a viable business case is a bit more challenging considering the production volume would be low.
“Economically it is easier to put a sedan on paper than a great halo car,” Schwarzenbauer said. “We have to look at all the options. As you know, halo cars are economically not always great. It is a trade-off: How much does it do for the brand, and how do you make it feasible?” he said.
But compact sedans, “that is a huge segment,” Schwarzenbauer said. Market studies forecast annual growth of four per cent for the premium compact segment, which will account for more than 27% of the total global premium passenger car market by 2020.
Last year, the redesigned Clubman was the first to enter into a higher vehicle class. The new and roomier MINI Clubman will appeal to customers who particularly appreciate outstanding design and driving fun combined with everyday drivability and long-distance suitability, versatility and comfort.
Schwarzenbauer said a decision on the fifth volume, or “superhero,” car will be made this year, but he declined to give a firm timetable. A small pickup is off the table, he said.