The British Mini brand, which now belongs to BMW AG, the largest premium automaker in the world, is among the select few that shows a strategic move towards unpopular models – ditching the ones proven be disliked in terms of sales.
Unlike global carmakers that are bringing to life new models as if they were hamsters, Mini has taken up a rare road – chastity. The German-owned brand has taken a page out of the well known German seriousness and decided that three of its main model need to take a dive, focusing on the remaining five models that are also better at delivering sales growth. The trend today across the auto industry is not to kill off undesirable models, but to flood the market with even more variants – turning up new niches that no one knew even existed. That strategy is obvious if we take one example – Mini’s own parent, the BMW luxury brand. Just two decades ago, BMW had four major lines of models: the 3, 5, 6 and 7 series. Today, BMW has more than one model variant for each number from one through seven and two cars in the “i” subbrand.
The stance is mirrored at archrivals Mercedes-Benz. “We are going through every segment we offer and looking to see if we can offer a more rugged model and a more coupe-like version,” commented Mercedes-Benz Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche in a recent interview. And because the SUV craze around the world is far from over, there are even planned moves in that direction in the ultra-luxury stratosphere – where Bentley, Aston, Rolls Royce and others are trying to fill a gap they didn’t know they had.