Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW AG board member that leads the British Mini brand, explains why the marquee will shrink its lineup to five models – axing the bad sellers: the Roadster, Coupe and Paceman.
Schwarzenbauer acknowledges the strategy is not very traditional at a time when all other automakers are pushing the limits of every segment and niche and constantly try to imagine new ways they could squeeze in even more model variants. The BMW executive has past experience as sales chief for the Porsche and Audi brands and says the decision has been controversial as “the auto industry is tending to occupy more and more niches to generate greater volume” – but Mini will try to prove the opposite is just as effective. The main strategy is for the brand to focus on fewer but stronger “character” models, with emphasis on client knowledge for each clearly defined model. The brand refers to the five core models as the “superheroes,” each with a different, independent character – easy to match by an experienced salesman to any consumer type.
The Mini brand has already expanded its production base beyond Europe – in Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand for the local markets, And besides the core production base at the Oxford, UK, factory and the additional manufacturing capacity at Magna Steyr in Austria and VDL Nedcar in the Netherlands the brand has no plans to build cars at new locations. Mini is also en route to end the more than a decade long collaboration on engines with PSA Peugeot Citroen and is already working on its own powerplants to be used after 2016.
Via Automotive News Europe