Could BMW kill the iconic MINI 3 door hatch? The one that is based on the very origins of the brand? Sources are telling us that there are some within BMW that believe MINI should kill the 3 door hatch when the current generation ends production in 2022. Along with the convertible cancellation around the same time (which is more strongly rumored) that would leave just the five door, Clubman and Countryman in a future, paired down MINI line-up. Why would BMW do this and and how likely is this to actually happen? Read on.
There’s plenty of recent precedent for the move if it goes ahead. VW alone has killed the three door versions of the Beetle, Polo, Scirocco and Up, as well as the Audi A3. Even the ones that are still on-sale (Audi A1, Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Citigo) will be killed when the next generation of each debuts.
Sales of 3 door hatchbacks have been dwindling in Europe and are traditionally not as sought after in China. Traditionally the US hasn’t been a bastion of sale for such cars either. But the traditional MINI 3 door hatch had been a big seller. In December of 2012 for instance it sold a staggering 3,011 units. Fast forward to last month and MINI USA only sold 867 units.
But the bigger issue (in the US at least) is the evaporation of the small car market. It can clearly be seen in MINI USA’s sales numbers. Even combining sales of the 3 and 5 door hatch, they fall short of the Countryman crossover. This trend is being played out in other brands around the world as well. Crossovers are dominating sales and stealing share from traditional sedans, wagons and hatchbacks. Combine this with the size requirements that electric drivetrains require and you can see why automakers have been quick to move away from the classic three door hatch – a shape Mini helped invent.
What’s the Real Likelihood that BMW Will Kill the MINI 3 Door Hatch?
Would MINI take the radical step of killing the most iconic model in its line-up? According to sources we seem to be at the moment of debate within BMW. We know in talking with BMW and MINI execitives over the years that there are plenty who believe that the 3 door is the heart and soul of the brand and must be kept at all costs. But according to our sources there are other more pragmatic views that would prefer to look forward and want the MINI brand to have a more fluid and evolving product line-up that. One that presumably stays in-tune with consumer desires.
What do we think? We would be shocked if MINI took such a radical step and believe it’s probably just a discussion point in future strategy meetings at the moment. However crazier things have happened.
What about you? How would you feel if the MINI 3 Door hatch was taken out of the line-up?