Fresh off of the announcement of MINI’s new direction, we’re getting more information about plans for the JCW sub-brand. According to MINI’s CEO Bernd Körber, the plan is to make JCW an all electric performance brand with a few surprises along the way including a standalone model.
According to an interview in Auto Express, Körber believes there’s an opportunity to develop JCW into a more focused sub-brand similar to BMW M. For years JCW has offered specific models but the differentiation between them and the standard MINI models has been often focus on engine tunes, brakes and styling. MINI wants to take that further and they believe a move to electrification could do that.
According to MINI, JCW models currently account for just over 5% of overall MINI sales. But those cars aren’t just the fastest, they’re also the most profitable for the brand. Körber sees an opportunity to re-think the JCW brand as MINI expands its electric offerings.
As Körber explained to Auto Express, “The next phase of our portfolio is also about the next generation of John Cooper Works. The perception, I would say, when you look at John Cooper Works, it’s not the perception of a full-blown sub-brand. People very often perceive it as our top model or performance model. What we would like to do is make John Cooper Works a real electric performance brand.”
The Electric JCW Timeline
Rest assured the petrol powered JCW aren’t going away immediately. MINI recognizes that the transition is dependent on a number of factors. Be that as it may we’d expect the first all electric JCW product to be a year after the first all electric 4th generation MINIs debut in 2023 making the ’24 model year a safe bet. In all we’d expect MINI to introduce an all electric JCW hatch, small crossover and a new all electric Countryman.
Körber added; “there will still be a market and customer demand for ICE [internal combustion engine] John Cooper Works, but ultimately the performance [brand] will be electrified, and for MINI it fits.”
A Standalone JCW Model?
Asked if it was possible that JCW could release a standalone product that’s not based on any other MINI, Körber responded, “Not at this stage, but yes.” That small admission is huge news for the brand as shows just how serious BMW looks at JCW in relation to the overall strategy for MINI. What could that model be? A wild variation of the iconic hatch or something much more bespoke similar to the original MINI Coupe? What about a rally inspired performance crossover? Or better yet, what would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below.