The following is the official transcript of the speech given by Dr. Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales & Marketing.
Official Release: A decade ago, MINI asked the question: “Is it Love?” …I would say so. Just a couple of weeks ago we celebrated the two millionth MINI rolling off the line at Plant Oxford in the UK. That’s a lot of fans!
By launching the new MINI ten years ago, we created the premium small-car segment. Our approach was: from the original to the original. Since then, we’ve been busy growing the MINI Family. After the Hatch, we launched the Convertible, which was followed by the MINI Clubman… and about a year ago we introduced the MINI Countryman.
The Countryman has taken the brand further afield with four doors and four-wheel drive. As well, it underscores MINI’s ability to enter—and create—new segments with its success, selling over 66,000 units to date.
New additions to the line-up like the Countryman have propelled MINI to new sales records. There’s no doubt MINI has become a significant part of the BMW Group with every sixth car sold sporting a MINI badge. And we fully expect this momentum to continue, making 2011 another record year for the brand.
Here in Germany, MINI’s third largest market, it’s been a great year so far. Up to the end of August, sales jumped 18% over the same period last year.
This has also been a banner year for MINI in its biggest market, the US. Sales to date have surged by 27% up to the end of August.
Beyond MINI’s success in these two markets, we see balanced growth for the brand right across the world with nearly 180,000 MINIs sold year to date. That’s 25% more than this time last year.
But it’s not only MINI sales and the MINI Family that are growing — the world of MINI is expanding, too. MINI is now at home in nearly 90 countries. And Brazil is one of our recent success stories.
We launched MINI in Brazil only two years ago and sales this year increased more than 65% year to date over the same period last year. It just goes to show that MINI is truly an international brand.
Building upon the success we have in markets like Brazil, I’m happy to announce today we will launch MINI in India next year. As one of the world’s top growth markets, India is a great place to continue accelerating MINI’s global momentum. And that’s what MINI is all about: always focused on what’s around the corner.
Now, some of you were probably here with us two years ago when we celebrated MINI’s 50th birthday. As part of the celebration, we had a sneak-preview of two concepts: the MINI Coupé and the MINI Roadster.
We revealed the Coupé a short while ago and we’re looking forward to seeing it on the streets next month… and of course we’ll take a closer look today…
Now, the Roadster shares many of the Coupé’s characteristics… but in a more open form. You can experience it for yourself when we launch the new Roadster in February of next year — just in time for an open-air spring drive. The Roadster will take the MINI Family to six.
But why stop there… we’re also getting the seventh member of the MINI Family ready. You know it better as the MINI Paceman Concept. I’m happy to announce today, for the first time, we will launch this car in a little over one year’s time.
Here at MINI, we don’t just talk about the future, we make it happen. Speaking of making it happen at MINI, I’d like to welcome the head of MINI, Dr. Kay Segler.
Dr. Kay Segler: You know, there’s always a lot going on at MINI! But there are a couple of things I’m really excited about. As you said earlier, we just celebrated two million MINIs being produced at Plant Oxford. Because MINI is like a friend, we decided to commemorate this event on Facebook with The Wall of Fans called “2 million MINIs. 2 million Faces.” It’s a great way for MINI fans around the world to connect with each other.
We’re also bringing the world to MINI drivers. MINI Visual Boost radio offers a new set of entertainment possibilities, including web radio with over 20,000 stations from across the globe. This way, you can listen to your favourite radio stations wherever your MINI takes you.
Dr. Ian Robertson: It took us just two years to bring this car from concept to production. The MINI Coupé is our youngest model — in every sense of the word. Its sporty performance and edgy look have not gone unnoticed.
German media called the MINI Coupé “downright sporty”, and with good reason: it’s the fastest production MINI ever. Others couldn’t help but comment on the fifth MINI’s “eye-catching” looks, which makes sense: the Coupé was made to turn heads.
Dr. Kay Segler: The Coupé has captured MINI’s boldest elements in concentrated form, such as: sporty go-kart driving excitement with an optional 211 hp John Cooper Works engine; inventive features like the rear spoiler that automatically pops up at 80 kilometres an hour; and the Coupé’s daring design highlighted by the sleek and dynamic roofline. We’re sure MINI fans will be as excited as we are about this car.
Dr. Ian Robertson: Thanks for joining us today. Now please come up and take a closer look at the newest member of the Family, the MINI Coupé. Thank you. Vielen Dank.