Mini, the British brand built atop the idea of British fashionability, has been incredibly style conscious ever since BMW brought it back from the depths of English oppression. Its iconic Cooper still wears a silhouette that harkens back to the original, but offers modern safety equipment and enough room for life-sized humans. You can order the Union Jack placed on virtually any body panel. And those center-mounted speedometers — as much as they put Flava Flav on notice — were a charming touch, if completely useless.
Yet, posh Britons are a fairly easy bunch to embarrass. For example, flatulence is met with mortified exclamations of “My word!” before said flatulator escapes to another room to make tea.
So, with that in mind, how the hell did the Clubman’s tow hitch make it past the censors?
Executives at Mini are busy mulling what to introduce next, and it’s increasingly looking like that model will have a trunk.
Unlike a car modeled after a young man wearing a backward ballcap, a sedan is a logical addition to the brand’s future lineup, and comments made to Autocar by Ralph Mahler, vice-president of product development, make it clear there’s a serious business case for a three-box Mini.
As the U.S. auto industry achieved record sales volume in 2015, Mini’s U.S. sales were down 12 percent compared with Mini’s peak in 2013. And despite modest year-over-year growth in 2015, the year didn’t end so well. Mini sales plunged 20 percent in the fourth quarter, and sales have now declined in four of the last five months.
Through the first two months of 2016, U.S. Mini sales are down 13 percent, a loss of nearly 900 sales, even as industry sales grew by more than 3 percent. Indeed, in February, Mini volume plunged 24 percent as overall U.S. new vehicle volume rose to the highest February level since 2001.
Yet this is not a worldwide issue. Globally, Mini sales hit a record high in 2015 and are up 4 percent in the early part of 2016. Will a U.S. rebound soon follow? (Read More…)
At 10 inches longer and 7 inches wider than the current Clubman, this really is the Maxi Mini. And it’s got two extra doors. While officially a concept, you can bet that this is making it into production.