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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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4 of 40 comments
  • Verbal Verbal on May 02, 2016

    After reading Car and Driver's conclusion to their long-term Mini test, I'd say Mini would be better served by focusing on product quality rather than creating yet another derivative to fill a marketing micro-niche.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 02, 2016

    It's interesting they're immediately talking another model derivative, after they just dropped (2-3?) some. The Coupe and whatever the other one was.

  • 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.