Mini, BMW’s British brand that offers fresh takes on the iconic “Mini” original, is doing well in China. Actually, in one segment of the population it’s doing too well for comfort.
According to estimates form J.D. Power & Associates, the Mini has the highest number of female drivers among any brands, reaching around 80% of the sales in China.
“You don’t want to tip into being a girlie car,” said Sean Green, head of Mini’s China business. “Not only do you alienate the men, you actually alienate a lot of women, because a lot of women won’t want to buy a feminine brand.”
China is the world’s largest automotive market, with an estimate of 1 billion drivers to be on the roads within the next ten years, and for Mini, this is the fourth most important market, after the US, UK and Germany. The brand fights competitors like the Smart brand, Fiat’s 500 line-up and Volkswagen’s Beetle.
“It’s very cute. It appeals to women who are a bit playful, because the brand itself is playful,” adds Munling Cheong, market research director at Shanghai-based Labbrand Enterprise Management Consulting.
Mini managed to deliver 11,440 cars in the first five months of the year, more than Smart and Fiat’s 500 and reaching an increase in sales of 18%, which is thoroughly outpacing the overall passenger-vehicle market rise of 11%.