LUCA CIFERRI

Mini boss experiences love at first sight

Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
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Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer's passion for the Superleggera Vision concept is the strongest that I have experienced during my 35 years covering the auto industry. One look at the car and it is easy to understand why.

“It was love of at first sight,” Schwarzenbauer told me with some tears in his eyes, which he could not take off the stunning concept while we spoke. “With cars it is like with people: the first seven seconds are crucial. I needed much less than that to fall in love with the Superleggera concept.”

Mini parent BMW Group typically uses the word "Vision" for true concept vehicles that offer small details of what’s to come next. The Mini Superleggera Vision seems to be an exception to that rule.

BMW executives already has a starting price in mind: 35,000 euros.

There is no doubt in my mind that when it comes time for the BMW Group to decide whether to make the car the vote will be a loud and clear, “YES!”

Schwarzenbauer is right: The Mini Superleggera Vision is a thing of beauty that would win buyers whether it has an internal combustion engine or a version of the battery-powered drivetrain in the concept.

While BMW has never officially confirmed that it wants to boost Mini’s global sales to 500,000 in the midterm from more than 305,000 last year, pushing the brand to a half-million volume will force it to attract new customers.

A production version of the Mini Superleggera Vision would definitely do that.

It also would help us all forget the ugly Mini Coupe and Roadster variants, which will be discontinued soon because of weak demand. Those two models clearly demonstrate that Sir Alec Issigonis’s iconic design could only be stretched so far. While the Mini Superleggera Vision perfectly shows how Mini could evolve, creating new icons that I’m sure even Sir Alec would like.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.

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