Get Ready, a Mini Sedan Could Be on the Way
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.
If produced, the sedan would join a group of five core models for Mini, which is tightening up its product strategy in an effort to boost sales, especially in the U.S.
The two- and four-door Cooper hatchbacks, convertible and lengthened Clubman are three of Mini’s new sales warriors, while the revamped (and enlarged) Countryman SUV is due out later this year. That leaves a fairly obvious slot unoccupied, unless you’re one of the few that thinks the world is ready for a Mini pickup (but wouldn’t that be cute?).
A Mini sedan isn’t unprecedented. Older ex-pats might recall the Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet — both were Mini-based two-door sedans produced by the British Motor Company (BMC) starting in 1961. The models were dropped in 1969 after the dismal British-Leyland days began.
Mini owner BMW still holds the rights to the Riley name following its purchase of British-Leyland’s cast-offs (Rover Group) in the 1990s. Theoretically, the name could return as a specific model, and not a brand, though few people in the U.S. would have an emotional connection to it.
There’s no word on when Mini will announce its fifth core model, but with the fourth due out this fall, you’d think the company would want to be able to describe (at that time) what model customers can expect next.
[Images: Top, Mini; Riley Elf, Charles01 ( GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0)/ Wikimedia Commons]
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- Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
- Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
- Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
- William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
- Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
Fug the Kestrel-sedan revamp. Howz about a Mini Moke reboot for the Cali crowd? Or even a MINI based commercial?
I was in the UK when the original Mini was created (factoid: it was briefly advertised as the "Austin Se7en" and the "Morris Mini-Minor"). The Riley and Wolseley variants came a while later when they were trying to turn a profit (the original barely did)and figured the respected middle class brands might pull in hesitant buyers. That being said, for the purist, a Mini should have two doors, four forward gears and FWD. The bloated Euromobiles bearing the label are sailing under false colors !