Today’s marketplace is a crowded affair. Each manufacturer seems to sit down at the table every new model year with more. More variants, more things with all-wheel drive, more CUVs, and more vehicles which split the pieces of the sales pie down to ever smaller fragments. This fragmentation leads to the eye splinter above, whatever the hell Toyota thinks it is, which will clog up parking lots everywhere starting next year.
To cure this portion issue, I think some models need to die, and I want you to help me choose which ones.
Mini’s largest model is about to get the most powerful engine currently available to the brand from its parent company, BMW. The company will offer up its 2018 Countryman as the latest John Cooper Works model, adorned with polarizing paint jobs and a powerful 2.0-liter turbo.
While the idea of a performance crossover might seem like an oxymoron, as well as being a bit impractical — especially considering Mini already makes a quicker and more nimble JCW Cooper with the same engine — there’s a precedent of the concept working. (Read More…)
Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that — all things considered — just might be the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.
When the new Mini was introduced way back in 2000, some saw it as a means to cash in on the burgeoning niche of retro-themed cars, then populated by the New Beetle, PT Cruiser, and — erm — Ford Thunderbird. Oh dear.
Since then, the Mini brand has grown into a full line of cars, ranging from the original Hardtop to the jacked-up Countryman. It’s shockingly easy to spend upwards of $40,000 on a Mini today, but how does one stack up as a base model at half that price?
Let’s find out.
Mini has revealed what form its new hybrid will take.
That, the e-tron name lives on in Audi’s first dedicated electric SUV, Unifor squares off with Ford, and hype man Elon Musk reschedules his alleged big announcement … after the break! (Read More…)
Mini continues to inflate the size of its vehicles, and the redesigned Countryman is expected to be the biggest yet.
The company’s global head, Sebastian Mackensen, tells Automotive News Europe that the new vehicle will grow in the same way as the second-generation Clubman. He also claims the next Countryman will be more SUV-like, and for a very specific reason. (Read More…)
An electric Mini? There’s a weak Austin Powers joke in there somewhere, maybe, but that movie (alarmingly) came out 19 years ago.
After teasing the possibility earlier this year, BMW CEO Harald Krüger confirmed an all-electric Mini will arrive in 2019, Bloomberg reports. Krüger claims a Mini EV, as well as an electric version of the compact X3 crossover, is needed to keep up with the company’s German rivals. (Read More…)
Having been a player in the small car category since its 2001 reboot, Mini now seeks to take on the burgeoning premium sporty compact segment with this, the new John Cooper Works Clubman.
With sales of the Mini brand reaching only nine-tenths of its 2013 high in the U.S. last year, will this model bait new customers into the brand’s retina-searing showrooms?
The United Kingdom, through referendum, has decided to break off from Europe and go it alone. But what of all the auto manufacturers that produce vehicles in the island nation? And of their employees? And trade?
We won’t know the answers to those questions until the UK and European governments sort out how the two entities will work together in the future. For now, it’s business as usual. Though, thanks to Autocar, we at least have reactions from the big players in the UK’s automotive industry.
The UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is tasked with, according to the SMMT, promoting “the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad.”
Prior to the June 23 Brexit vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the SMMT insisted that voting “remain” was critical to the UK automotive industry. Brexit could jeopardise jobs, automakers were in agreement that remaining was important, and pointed to the UK’s 800,000 auto industry jobs and its £15.5 billion contribution to the economy as reasons to stay in the European Union.
Mini needs a fifth core model that stays true to the brand’s heritage while drawing in more customers, but the man in charge of the brand doesn’t like sedans.
Unless a previously unknown model crawls out of Mini’s history, one side of the dilemma will have to give up ground.
Ralph Mahler, Mini’s vice-president of product development, sparked sedan rumors earlier this month when he said a conventional four-door makes good business sense, especially in the U.S. and Asia. His boss doesn’t disagree, but hates the idea. (Read More…)
“Clean up the place when you’re done with it, and don’t even think of offering ‘hourly rates’ while you have it. This is a respectable car.”
Adds like this could start popping up from new Mini owners if the quirky automaker has its way, Automotive News Europe reports.
Mini plans to offer devices on its models that allow the owner to rent out their vehicle to other drivers, providing some cash for themselves and a Mini experience for non-owners.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group executive in charge of Mini, seems very excited about the technology, telling Automotive News that the system will be “kind of like Airbnb on wheels.” (Read More…)
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.
BMW Group is laying out its game plan for the future, and it includes a lot of new electric vehicles.
Beyond the marketing buzzwords, there’s much similarity between BMW’s plan, released yesterday, and those of so many other automakers: building high-tech convenience and connectivity into their vehicles, diversifying their electric offerings, developing autonomous driving technology, and making the customer feel extra special.
The immediate effect on BMW’s rolling stock will be an expanded “i” range of all-electric or plug-in hybrid models, starting with a convertible version of the i8 and a longer-ranged version of the i3 by the end of this year.
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…)
I’ve not yet had the pleasure of driving a classic Mini. Residing in Ohio, this isn’t altogether surprising, as the climate has not been kind to many older cars. Also, there’s the problem of not being able to actually fit. Someday, though, I need to give it a try.
With a production run spanning six decades, there are likely many Minis still seeing use as daily drivers in the UK. Like any other ubiquitous car, then, these are subject to the whims of the owners looking to give their rides some additional personality.
As it seems there are no Pep Boys in England, questionable modifications must come from other sources.