Mar 31st, 2015
Premium does not equal high cost. Nor does a move further upscale mean MINI will turn its back on the style and performance that has made the brand such a success over the years. Now with that out let’s get to the why, how and when.
BMW held onto MINI after the Rover debacle for a few reasons. The ability to lower corporate MPG numbers was certainly one. Another was about placing a smart bet that dipping its corporate toe in a front wheel drive small car brand would be a good idea for the future. And what better brand to do that with than the one that invented the segment.
Fast forward 15 years later and MINI has been full integrated into the BMW family. Not only every generation but every year since that 2001 R50 launch, MINIs have become more integrated into the BMW family. Some would say they’ve become small BMWs. Or you could look at it as BMW has allowed MINI to make better MINIs. Either way the level of refinement and sophistication (not to mention performance and efficiency) has risen dramatically.
But there’s a problem. MINI isn’t making enough money for BMW. The cars are small front wheel drive BMWs being sold for $20,000 USD. Profits are razor thin on moderately specced cars and likely non-existent on stripped down base models. BMW has had two three choices over the past few years. Partner with another automaker (which they’ve tried), abandon the brand (which some have recommended), or simply double down and go it alone. continued →
Feb 9th, 2015
Another week, another set of spy photos from Automobile Magazine. This time, the upcoming F60 Countryman was caught winter testing, but interestingly enough this is not the most interesting bit of the story. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see a “Hybrid Testing Vehicle” sticker on the front passenger door. About a year ago, we gave a detailed overview of the plug-in system that the BMW Group plans to bring to the MINI brand. And while our initial assumption was that F54 Clubman would be the first model of FXX generation to receive this drivetrain, the new Countryman appears to be in the lead to become to first plug-in hybrid MINI ever. continued →
Jan 24th, 2015
Back in September, we shared our insights regarding the next MINI Countryman. The most successful MINI – after the Hardtop that is – will share the same extended UKL platform as the future BWM X1 and could come as a five and seven seater vehicle. In addition, the F60 Countryman will most likely boast similar engines currently seen across the FXX lineup, with possible diesel and plug-in options offered throughout the lifecycle of the car. Very few details regarding the exterior design have been available until now, but our colleagues at Autocar just revealed interesting tidbits on the matter. continued →
Nov 27th, 2014
Unfortunately, we don’t have the details of MINI’s strategy in that regard, but words from Peter Schwarzenbauer – left on this picture and BMW AG Board Member – reported yesterday by Automotive News revealed interesting facts about the future of our favorite brand. While the Five Superhero Cars plan isn’t news to avid MotoringFile readers, we have yet to find out what exactly those five cars will be. However, these new tidbits can help us make an educated guess and they seem to indicate that an all-electric MINI might be part of the pack. continued →
Nov 12th, 2014
We’ve been reporting on it all year. But now it would seem the automotive press has picked up on the figures. Here’s Automotive News on the recent slump:
After a flat 2013, Mini’s U.S. sales are down 20 percent through October. The slump has left some pundits wondering whether Mini could suffer the problems of other once-trendy retro nameplates.
Mini management says sales are down mainly because of the model changeover for its core vehicle, the two-door Cooper hardtop. The redesigned hardtop, which is larger and shed some of its quirky features, arrived on dealership lots in April. Then dealers suffered a six-week delay of the 2015 Cooper, which arrived in mid-September.
Nov 1st, 2014
We know. You’re wondering how we can be so confident about the US finally getting a diesel MINI when MINI USA has either shown ambivalence or pulled plug on the program in the past. Five years ago the US was on the verge of getting an R56 diesel. However due to the global economy meltdown the business case just didn’t make sense. However this time things are different. The UKL platform from the beginning has been designed to accommodate the urea tank required for US diesels making modifications less expensive. Then there’s the increased interest in higher MPG and diesel in the US that are both consumer cost (never mind the currently low fuel prices) and legislation driven.
So what diesel MINI will the US get? We originally reported that the US would be getting a MINI Clubman SD for 2017. While we believe that’s still likely, we believe that a Countryman SD is actually more likely for the 2018 model year. What’s the SD? Simply put it’s a diesel Cooper S drivetrain that produces 168bhp at 4000rpm and 266lb ft lbs at 1500rpm. MPG? That’s where things get really interesting. continued →
Oct 10th, 2014
With the F56 and F55 four door launched, MINI is turning its attention to rounding out its aging line-up. This includes the convertible, JCW and of course the highly anticipated Clubman. Read on the for the details.