Mini Boss Doesn't Want to Sully the Brand With an Icky Sedan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
mini boss doesnt 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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  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on May 02, 2016

    They had a cute little Mini pickup back in the day. That would slot in the empty space vacated by the Ranger and S10

  • Mstover Mstover on Jul 22, 2016

    My 2014 Countryman has been a great car. I now have 55,000 miles on it with no issues. Some claim that the extra ground clearance is silly, but that clearance and the all wheel drive sure makes it a great snow car here in Colorado. I could never have gotten a MINI prior to this model unless I was willing to let it sit all winter and only drive in the summer. Yeah its quirky, but it's also a lot of fun to drive and has been very dependable...not to mention 31 mpg. I drove the new Clubman the other day and it was even nicer with the more BMW styled interior and BMW engine/transmission. I do think they could do away with the Paceman as it's a waste.

  • Bkojote Electrify America has been a total eff-up (this should be no surprise given it was a VW led project.) Say what you want about Tesla, but their charging network is their greatest asset. Ford's also had some serious quality control issues. Apparently those center displays on their new vehicles are prone to straight-up failing. And for those being like 'see this is why them EV's are terrible' I'm sure a few Bronco owners would love to tell you about their engine failures as of late.
  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
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