Mini Boss Doesn't Want to Sully the Brand With an Icky Sedan
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.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group board member in charge of the brand, told Automotive News Europe that a compact sedan doesn’t fit the brand.
“I can’t rule it out completely because we are running a business here, and from that point of view it’s an interesting segment,” Schwarzenbauer said. “But from a brand perspective, I just don’t see a fit. I can’t envision a sedan that could come close to something that is authentically Mini.”
The Mini boss admitted a sedan was among the proposals drawn up for the brand’s final core model (or “superhero,” in Mini parlance).
Schwarzenbauer loves the Superleggera roadster concept, but said the volume would be too small. At the very least, he said, the model should be a plug-in hybrid, not a full EV. A smaller Mini hardtop is off the table because the automaker doesn’t have the proper architecture.
Mini’s mystery model, whatever it ends up being, joins the Cooper hardtop, convertible, newly lengthened Clubman, and the upcoming Countryman.
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