As a follow-up to last week’s news that Mini will not introduce a vehicle larger than the Countryman compact crossover, Automotive News Europe now says that the BMW brand will cancel the unpopular Paceman, Coupe, and Roadster models for the newest generation of Mini cars.
Moving forward Mini will instead focus on three “pillar” vehicles, which include the 2014 Mini Cooper hardtop, a new version of the five-door Countryman, and a next-generation Clubman (possibly arriving in 2015) based on the six-door concept car shown at this year’s Geneva show.
Many critics had panned Mini for straying too far from its roots as a maker of small and simple economy cars. With the current model range including the Cooper hardtop, convertible, Coupe, Roadster, Clubman, Countryman, and Paceman, Mini loyalists feared that the identity of the brand was in jeopardy due to the oversaturation of new models.
“Our first priority is to roll out a portfolio that has strong pillars and to be absolutely clear what each stands for,” Mini product management head Oliver Friedmann told Automotive News Europe. He stressed that for Mini to be “more relevant moving forward,” the brand would not prioritize low-volume vehicles like the Paceman, Coupe, and Roadster.
In 2013, U.S. sales of the Mini Cooper hardtop led the way with 26,954 units, demonstrating that buyers still see the original “new Mini” model as the brand marquee. Not far behind was the popular Mini Countryman, which sold 21,325 units. By contrast, the two-door Mini Paceman crossover sold just 3262 units, while the Roadster and Coupe fared even worse, at 2806 and 2540 sales, respectively. With such low sales volumes, it's not too surprising those models are on the chopping block.
The new 2014 Mini Cooper hardtop goes on sale this month at U.S. dealerships. BMW’s new front-wheel-drive platform underpins the latest-gen Cooper, which also adds a new 1.5-liter turbo-three engine. We’ll see a four-door version of the Cooper hardtop arrive by the end of 2014, which could add a healthy dose of practicality for buyers previously unmoved by the three-door hatchback. The new Countryman will follow, likely adding more ground clearance and all-wheel drive.
It’s good to see Mini refocusing its brand on core models, and we’re excited to see how Mini takes its fun-to-drive personality into the next generation. Stay tuned for more details about future Mini vehicles over the coming months.