The days of Mini model proliferation madness appear to be over, with the iconic British brand’s parent company BMW confirming it will “reposition the Mini brand” and “focus on five models”.
The five – which were not named in a release from the brand – are (we presume): the three-door Mini hatch, the Mini 5 door, the new Clubman, the upcoming Cabrio and the high-riding Countryman. That leaves Paceman out of the picture alongside the Roadster and Coupe models, which we already knew were axed.
The assertion also appears to indicate that there will be no smaller Mini a la the Rocketman concept (pictured below), while it’s unclear what that could mean for any rumoured production version of the Superleggera concept.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Mini, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad and After Sales, outlined his plan for the Mini brand at the launch of the new Clubman model overnight.
“Since its creation in 1959, the Mini brand has always stood for ideas, inspiration and passion. That will not change,”Schwarzenbauer stated.
“The new Mini Clubman is the symbol of our refined brand philosophy: We will concentrate in future on five core models with strong characters.
“We will open ourselves up to new ideas and new business areas,” he said. “We will develop the brand’s visual identity. We are expanding our offering into the premium compact class, which will attract new customers and avid Mini fans.
“I firmly believe that this comprehensive realignment will enable us to continue the Mini brand’s unique success story.”
Part of the realignment, according to the brand, will be pushing the premium aspects of the range. The Mini Clubman, for instance, is said to be positioned “in a higher vehicle class”, with Mini aiming to “raise the bar for top-class design and high-end product substance”.
The company claims that the premium compact segment – which houses the likes of the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A1 and A3 among others – “will account for more than 27 per cent of the total global premium passenger car market by 2020”.
In terms of specific model buying habits, Mini says it expects the Cooper S performance models to make up about one-third of all sales over the medium term, while the top-end John Cooper Works models should double to about five per cent of sales – almost double the current state.
While sales are important, Mini is also establishing its own car-sharing network known as DriveNow, which will be included as part of an optional equipment package in some markets.
Schwarzenbauer explained the thinking behind the new Mini DriveNow idea: “Society and the automotive in-dustry are undergoing radical change. MINI customers are among the most pro-gressive, open-minded target groups. So it makes sense for us to offer a car-sharing option for MINI starting in 2016.”