The Superleggera Vision has just the shape of its headlamps in common with the current Mini. New design cues include a stretched hood, long wheelbase, and short overhangs.
MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- BMW Group has decided that Mini has gotten too big and will shrink the compact brand's lineup to five models from eight.
The move is a strategy shift after Mini in recent years has rolled out a series of quirky derivatives such as coupe and roadster two-seat models. While the old plan sustained sales growth, it added cost and complexity.
Over the long term, Mini will now focus on "superhero" vehicles including the three- and five-door versions of the basic hatchback, the Countryman crossover and the Clubman wagon, which will be revamped next year, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the brand's chief said Wednesday.
"Like a superhero, each of these cars has its own personality and unique capabilities," said Schwarzenbauer in a speech prepared for an event near BMW's Munich headquarters. "It is important to find the right balance between growth, on the one hand, and profitability, on the other."
Mini executives hinted at the plan during an interview with Automotive News Europe at the Geneva auto show in March.
BMW re-introduced Mini as an upscale small car in 2001 to target the increasing ranks of urban consumers. Since then, there's been a steady stream of trendy city cars such as the Audi A1 and Fiat 500, putting pressure on Mini to differentiate itself.
"Mini now faces competition in areas where it previously stood alone," said Schwarzenbauer, who took charge of Mini last year after previously heading sales at Audi.
He didn't say which Mini models will be cut and didn't give a time frame for the process.
While some models will go, Mini still plans to offer an electric vehicle "soon," the BMW management-board member said.
The car could be modeled on the Superleggera concept that appeared at the Paris auto show in October.
Mini introduced the third-generation of its basic hatchback -- known now as the Hardtop in the U.S. -- in 2013.
Demand for the car will help the BMW unit match last year's sales record of about 305,000 vehicles. With the addition of the Clubman, Schwarzenbauer anticipates a "significant" increase in sales next year.
"The brand will continue to evolve over the coming years to ensure that we remain leading edge," he said. "We will take new and unexpected directions."