GENEVA — The United States will be the biggest market for Mini's new crossover, the Countryman, which will be the premium small-car brand's fourth vehicle.
Mini will add two more models, a coupe and roadster, at the end of next year, said Ian Robertson, BMW AG board member for sales and marketing. The Countryman will be the first Mini with four doors, all-wheel drive and four individual seats.
Robertson said he expects the United States to be the biggest market for the petite crossover and for BMW's Mini brand. Last year Mini sold 45,225 vehicles in the United States, down 16 percent from 2008. Robertson said Mini sales will grow in 2010, but he made no specific prediction.
"The U.S. will continue to have a strong showing in Mini," he said.
Robertson said he expects the crossover to bring "a lot of different customers because this car has a lot more flexibility."
"The Mini Countryman is our answer to the needs of customers who were looking for a bit more Mini and a Mini which goes far beyond urban boundaries."
The Countryman has higher seating than the Mini Cooper two-door and Clubman wagon. A center rail running between the seats provides storage and USB connections for electronics.
Mini debuts a new awd system on the Countryman that it calls All4. The system also will be available on the Mini Cooper S.
The Countryman will be sold in the United States with the 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine carried over from the Cooper and Cooper S, including an optional turbocharged version.