Former Audi executive becomes chief of MINI image

BMW has named head of its MINI brand the former Audi executive, Sebastian Mackensen. The previously Audi exec was hired in 2013 by BMW from competitor Audi where he was overseeing sales in North and South America.

According to a BMW statement, Mackensen, 43, is succeeding John Goller, 48, who has been in charge of MINI since 2013 and who is staying in the BMW family, only that he will be moving to China to handle sales and marketing at the BMW Brillance joint venture. Before returning to Europe, Goller was head of marketing for BMW China.

At the moment, BMW is looking to make MINI profitable in the long run. The automaker is expected to actually discontinue production of its three slow-selling MINI cars: the Coupe, the Roadster and the Paceman, and to focus on the three- and five- door versions of its Countryman crossover and Clubman station wagon. BMW is expecting MINI sales to reach record levels after 2014 has been an almost flat year due to different model changeovers with only a 1% overall increase to 302,183 vehicles sold.

There are also some other changes taking place at BMW. Peter van Binsbergen, 47, who is currently head of sales and marketing at the BMW Brillance in China, will become senior vice-president of sales and marketing for the BMW Group Germany.

Bernard Kuhnt, 47, who has previously been in charge of Jaguar Land Rover’s European sales, will become head of BMW Group’s importer markets, handling BMW sales in more than 80 countries. Last but not least, Uwe Dreher, 40, currently in charge of BMW marketing in the UK, is switching to be head of marketing for the BMW brand and the BMW I and BMW M sub brands. Quite some changes there, BMW!

By Gabriela Florea