By on August 24, 2020

BMW Group

Going topless is becoming increasingly difficult for new car buyers. Soon, the only convertibles on the North American market will be dedicated sports cars, and there’ll be precious few of those, too.

This depressing statement stems from a report that claims the next-generation Mini Cooper will say goodbye to its convertible variant, leaving the brand with far less whimsy than before.

Supply chain sources tell Automotive News that the current Cooper drop-top will be the last, with the model set to phase out the body style during its 2024 changeover. The last one should roll off the line in February of that year, they claim. Yes, there’s still time, folks.

The unconfirmed discontinuation shouldn’t come as a surprise. Mini sells very few convertibles in the U.S.; meanwhile, automakers — even before the pandemic — were tripping over themselves in a bid to right their respective ships via product streamlining. Fewer build configurations equals savings, and the Cooper convertible was definitely not a simple product to manufacture.

Mini sold 4,031 drop-tops in the U.S. last year, a drop of 25 percent compared to 2018. Volume dropped 31 percent, year over year, in the second quarter of 2020.

Indeed, it seems people who have the money to spend on a convertible are increasingly looking for thrills.

“Buyers are moving to small crossovers while the few convertible buyers who remain can get the … Mazda MX-5 for less money,” Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions, told AN, adding that the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro capture much of the rest.

On the crossover front, Mini reportedly has two additional models on the way. Interesting times for a brand traditionally linked to (very) small cars. One of the two upcoming offerings will be fully electric, AN claims.

Pulling back a bit, the Mini brand, despite the addition of the Clubman and larger Countryman, remains a shrinking presence in the U.S. marketplace. The brand hit a high water point in 2016, selling more than 66,000 vehicles. Last year’s volume? 36,092. Don’t expect this year to match it.

[Image: BMW Group]

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7 Comments on “Report: Sun to Set on Mini Cooper Drop-top...”

  • avatar

    WTF. The Mini convertible has *no* rival. It is the only small convertible:

    – seating 4 (slim) adults (which need to cooperate, of course)
    – offering plenty of cargo space (one *huge* bag in the trunk, one *huge* bag on the backseat plus a small bag plus a large backpack etc.) – far more than a F-Type conv
    – real open air feeling (upright windshield)
    – enough power (S)
    – good driving dynamics
    – enough technical gremlins to give you that authentic english automobile flair

    The Fiata:
    – Ridicolously small, small, small (driver seat, passenger seat leg room, cargo area) – no alternative to the Mini

    The F-Type and other roadsters:
    – Too small (no backseat = no 2nd cargo area)

    Everything else?
    Either longish drop-top sedans or super expensive sports cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s really unfortunate. My best friend, who is 6’2″ and weighs north of 250 lbs, has had multiple MINI Convertibles–the latest a 2013 non-S. He finds them very comfortable for larger people, due to the unobtrusive cabin.

      I agree that the MINI Convertible has no competitors, and that we’re all sorrier for losing it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Mini moved 36k cars in the US last year? I’m shocked it’s that many.

    But with volume down 45% in 3 years, they’re on a Fiat-like trajectory to oblivion.

  • avatar

    MINI continues to shoot itself in the foot. I’d still be driving a MINI convert if they had done some needed updates to the convert design. Stacking the roof instead of folding completely away was a deal breaker when it came to getting a new car. Instead, I now drive an Audi A3 convert.
    No more personalization, no more manual transmission for the convert. MINI has been pushing potential buyers away.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Yawn. If Mini offered its EV version in Cabriolet form, I would be interested. It’s getting to the point when I’m going to have to get the saws all out if I want a convertible.

  • avatar

    Mini will struggle until BMW address the elephant in the room which is that the brand does not translate into bigger cars. In fact the European market is crying out for a smaller Mini to take on the Ford KA.

    If MINI are to have more showroom traffic then BMW should:
    – build a new Triumph TR6
    – build a new Triumph Stag based on the 5 Series and going Ford Mustang chasing
    – Build a Triumph Stag Saloon and Sporting Brake
    – Build a Triumph Dolomite SUV based on the X3
    – Build a Triumph Spitfire SUV based on the X1

    Then Mini can piggyback off this.

  • avatar

    If Minis aren’t selling it’s because of the ridiculous cost of repair after they get a few years old. They’re really made out of pipe-cleaners and staples compared to other BMWs. Lots of bad experiences. Once the cute wears off, you gotta have some beef or people don’t come back.

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