BMW Relies on Mini Paceman to Surpass Fiat 500 image

BMW relies on its Mini Paceman two-door crossover to surpass its tough rival, Fiat’s little 500 model.

The Mini Paceman would be BMW’s seventh model in the automaker’s compact lineup, a key part in the company’s plan to expand in this segment. The Paceman is based on the four-door compact SUV, the Countryman, but it is redesigned with horizontal back lights and a lower roofline which offer a sportier feel, still keeping the look of a SUV. The model was introduced in Europe on March 16th and the next market is the US. The base price will start at $23,900 in the US market.

“If we’d simply done a three-door version of the Countryman, we’d have risked cannibalization,” Kay Segler, head of the Mini brand, said while introducing the car at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5. “You don’t perceive the two cars as one from the back view. That costs a lot of money and takes a lot of brain power.”

Mini announced its plan to introduce 10 variants by the end of the decade, among which a coupe, a wagon and a convertible. In 2012 BMW sold 301,500 Mini vehicles, an increase of 5.8% compared with 2011.