The FINANCIAL — The BMW Group is realigning the MINI brand’s product and brand strategy.
At the world premiere of the new MINI Clubman in Berlin, Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad and After Sales, explained how he plans to develop the brand: “Since its creation in 1959, the MINI brand has always stood for ideas, inspiration and passion. That will not change. The new MINI Clubman is the symbol of our refined brand philosophy: We will concentrate in future on five core models with strong characters. We will open ourselves up to new ideas and new business areas. We will develop the brand’s visual identity. We are expanding our offering into the premium compact class, which will attract new customers and avid MINI fans. I firmly believe that this comprehensive realignment will enable us to continue the MINI brand’s unique success story.”
Record sales and sustainable growth
After a strong start to the year with double-digit growth, MINI delivered around 163,000 vehicles in the first half of 2015. “We are heading for the best June in MINI history, meaning our sales will be up more than 20%,” explained Schwarzenbauer. “We will carry this momentum forward into the second half of the year and I am optimistic that MINI will achieve a new sales high in 2015.”
After the MINI relaunch under the BMW Group in 2001, sales increased fivefold in the first year. Today, annual MINI sales are roughly twelve times higher. MINI was the first brand in automotive history to set premium standards for the small car segment. Now, with the positioning of the MINI Clubman in a higher vehicle class, MINI will once again raise the bar for top-class design and high-end product substance, thereby gaining new customers, according to BMW Group.
MINI enters the premium compact class and leverages synergies
With its entry into a higher vehicle class, the new and roomier MINI Clubman will appeal to customers who particularly appreciate outstanding design and driving fun combined with everyday drivability and long-distance suitability, versatility and comfort. The extension of the compact class product range coincides with the introduction of a common front-wheel-drive architecture which will be used across different models and brands.
The new MINI Clubman is entering the market segment that promises the strongest growth in the future. Market studies forecast annual growth of four per cent for the premium compact segment, which will account for more than 27% of the total global premium passenger car market by 2020. MINI will participate in this growth. MINI customers increasingly choose a higher level of options. The company expects the percentage of sporty Cooper S models to account for up to a third of sales, depending on the model series, over the medium term. The share of ultra-high-performance John Cooper Works models is set to almost double to five per cent of the MINI model range.
Car-sharing solutions for private vehicles
Another milestone in the MINI innovation offensive will be a car-sharing solution for private vehicles. Society’s shift towards a “sharing economy” also fuels the success of the car-sharing concept DriveNow, which benefits to a large extent from the appeal of the MINI brand in cities. Peter Schwarzenbauer explained the thinking behind the new MINI service offering: “Society and the automotive industry are undergoing radical change. MINI customers are among the most progressive, open-minded target groups. So it makes sense for us to offer a car-sharing option for MINI starting in 2016.”
A new optional equipment package will enable MINI customers to share their MINI with others. MINI customers can make their vehicle available to DriveNow when not in use. This is also an attractive feature for fleet customers, enabling optimum use of fleet vehicles. This option will initially be available in the US in 2016 and later in DriveNow cities. In a further step, MINI will also enable a new form of vehicle lending (“peer-to-peer car sharing”) for a defined circle of family and friends.
MINI is a brand that captures and drives the spirit of the times. It is in the brand’s DNA to constantly reinvent itself. Now is the time for another such reinvention, as MINI creates a new visual identity for itself. At the heart of the brand design is the unique brand and product experience MINI has always stood for. The original idea behind the MINI design was to develop a highly-efficient vehicle focused on the essentials, but which had the agility to offer a one-of-a-kind driving experience. This combination of clear, emotional design with a focus on the essential will now also define the brand’s new look. A two-dimensional logo, new typography and new tonality underscore the basic idea of clarity and authenticity and will ensure the brand continues to shape the spirit of the times.