Mini Makes a Name Misnomer With Larger Countryman

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mini makes a name misnomer with larger countryman

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.

“The passenger car segment over the last two years is not growing like the truck segment but actually shrinking, and that is where we compete,” Mackensen explained.

The prominent factor here is size. Mini initially stretched the Cooper by 9.4 inches to create the Clubman, accommodating people who may want to sit in the back without breaking their legs off. But the car eventually grew by an additional foot in length, adding rear doors, 4.6 inches of girth, and 356 pounds in its second generation. A similar increase in volume would place the Countryman in Ford Escape territory — which wouldn’t exactly make it a petite vehicle.

But the reasoning here is sound.

The Escape was the second-best selling Ford in America last year. Competing in the crowded, growing crossover market has everything to do with why Mini is plumping up the Countryman. Sales of the Cooper have improved since the Clubman variant grew in size. North American sales for the car were up by 11,008 units in 2015 from a slump in the previous year. During the same period, Countryman sales dropped by 6,565 vehicles.

But the Ford Escape sold extremely well last year — 290,362 more than both Mini models. Mini wants its Countryman to soak up sales in that segment as soon as possible.

The next-generation Countryman is expected to debut next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A plug-in-hybrid version follows soon after, with the possibility of a future John Cooper Works performance variant.

[Image: BMW Group]

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  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Oct 14, 2016

    Since BLMH had The Maxi as well as The Mini it's not too big a stretch (odds are it's copyrighted by some sleazebag). Whole range could be: MINI - MIDI - MAXI

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Oct 14, 2016

    This makes sense if you think of Mini as a separate entity from BMW. Since they're not a separate maker, but rather a sub mark/branding/marketing/sales channel thing there's no need for a brand that owes it's existence and success to smallish (looking) cars to chase sales across the whole spectrum of personal vehicles. Maybe they should make a full size pickup too? Ford sells even more of those. Nonsense. Someone wants to grow his own fiefdom and bonus package and doesn't care what it does to shareholder value.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
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