BMW subsidiary sees hatchback, Countryman as 'pillar' models

Mini Paceman, Coupe/Roadster may not be replaced

BMW subsidiary sees hatchback, Countryman as 'pillar' models

The Mini Coupe was ''poorly executed," an analyst says.
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GENEVA -- Mini may not replace its Coupe/Roadster and Paceman cars. Instead the BMW Group subsidiary will focus on three "pillar" models.

Mini needs to be ''more relevant for more people,'' Oliver Friedmann, the brand's head of product management, told Automotive News Europe at the auto show here. ''Our first priority is to roll out a portfolio that has strong pillars and to be absolutely clear what each stands for.''

Friedmann identified the Mini hatchback and the Countryman SUV as two pillars of the brand. The potential third pillar is a compact-sized model based on the Clubman concept shown in Geneva. If the concept is built, "it will be a separate strong pillar,'' he said.

With the new focus, the hatchback-based Coupe and Roadster are unlikely to continue. ''It’s not decided but most probably this is not a priority,'' Friedmann said.

The Paceman, which is a coupe version of the five-door Countryman, could also be dropped when the Countryman is eventually replaced. "The Paceman is also not a first priority,'' Friedmann said.

The Paceman was launched as a lower, more sporty version of the Countryman.

The Coupe/Roadster and Paceman are niche models for Mini.

According to researchers IHS Automotive, Mini sold 3,858 Coupes, 2,678 Roadsters, 7,485 Clubmans and 8,229 Pacemans in Europe. This contrasts with sales of 47,177 Countrymans and 78,102 hatchbacks.

“The Coupe and Roadster are selling far below where Mini’s key models are and I think in some respects are quite poorly executed,” IHS senior analyst Ian Fletcher told Automotive News Europe.

New Clubman

IHS predicts that Mini will launch the new Clubman based on the Geneva show concept in 2015.

The Clubman concept is 260mm longer than the current model and has four conventional doors instead of the current Clubman’s quirky single half-door arrangement that provides rear seat access.

Mini's latest-generation three-door hatchback is being rolled out at dealerships. It uses BMW's new front-wheel-drive platform and BMW's a new 1.5-liter gasoline turbocharged three-cylinder engine which has improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

Mini's Clubman concept, shown, is longer, wider and taller than the current Clubman.

A five-door version is likely to go on sale before the end of this year. IHS estimates the revised hatchback's extra appeal could push its sales to more than 100,000 this year

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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