For all those that just can’t get enough the Detroit Autoshow, here’s a transcript of the speech given by Dr. Michael Ganal at the introduction of the MINI Detroit Concept:
>Welcome to the MINI stand at the North American International Auto Show! I am pleased to announce to you today that in 2005, MINI has reached a record in retail volume. Moreover, we have brought a concept car I am going to present to you in a few moments.
>But let’s start with the 2005 retail volume: For the very first time, the MINI brand has beaten the magic mark of 200,000 vehicles sold per year. We delivered 200,400 MINI automobiles. In October, the 700,000th MINI since the market launch in 2001 rolled off the assembly line. The vehicle was delivered to a young MINI fan in Hong Kong. So MINI can look back on five years of steady growth – this is an outstanding achievement in the automotive industry!
>The unique life cycle of the MINI is a clear indicator of the brand’s strength. The small car segment in particular is generally subject to strong fluctuations: Typically, there is a peak in retail volume during the second year after the market launch. At the end of the product life cycle, retail volume usually levels off at about fifty percent of the peak volume. Not so for MINI: In its fifth year, retail volume increased by 8.7 per cent compared to the previous year. You see: MINI is definitely different in every way.
>In 2005, retail volume in the United States also reached record levels: In our forth MINI year, we sold 40,800 vehicles here. This means: every fifth MINI produced in 2005 was delivered to a customer in the U.S. And we have achieved an extraordinarily high-class product mix here: The share of MINI Cooper S models amounts to almost 60 percent!
>What distinguishes the MINI story in the United States? For the American market, MINI is an unparalleled success in two respects:
>1. MINI has refuted two common misconceptions: Despite its small size and despite the fact that it is a hatchback, MINI is accepted as a premium vehicle in the American market as well. MINI has managed to contradict the usual stereotype that “Premium needs to be big” – which has always been particularly true in the U.S. – and has successfully established a completely new segment here.
>2. MINI does not have a long tradition in the United States. But within a mere four years, the United States have become the second most important retail market for MINI vehicles. There are more than 100,000 MINI owners in the U.S. today. Since 2002, retail volume has soared almost 70 percent.
>What makes MINI so successful?
>MINI’s secret of success is the convincing combination of a high-quality product and a strong brand. Both aspects are coherent and authentic down to the last detail. As a premium vehicle in the small car segment, MINI is a unique product. Apart from its high-quality product substance, it has three distinctive advantages:
>1. the one-of-a-kind go-kart feeling: MINI offers sheer driving pleasure in the most direct manner imaginable.
>2. the peerless design.
>3. maximum individuality. MINI’s countless equipment options establish an unrivaled choice in the small car segment. No two MINI vehicles are alike.
>MINI stands for stylish and modern design. Compare the MINI to its historical predecessor. You will see that it is clearly not a retro product. Many things seem familiar, but nevertheless, every detail is new. It is best described by the slogan “From the Original to the Original”.
>And what’s more: MINI is also a strong premium brand. In the United States in particular, we almost exclusively sell MINI at select one-brand show rooms with a premium character: More than 70 MINI dealerships offer MINI vehicles and brand accessories. They are mainly located in the metropolitan areas along the East and West Coast. In these areas, MINI embodies the urban lifestyle of its customers like no other brand. MINI addresses young professionals and those young-at-heart. These are the trendsetters of society whose buying patterns strongly influence other groups of consumers.
>Another crucial aspect is our highly innovative marketing strategy for MINI: We focus on unorthodox measures which get a lot of attention and fit the brand perfectly. MINI roller coasters attract visitors in Ohio and in Toronto, Canada. MINI vehicles drive up house walls or watch the Super Bowl from the grandstand.
>The awards we have received for the MINI brand and its products over the last few years are proof of the brand’s premium quality and our premium aspiration. Our MINI models are routinely voted Best Car, Best Buy, Best Brand by expert juries. At the same time, these awards are an encouragement for us to continue to meet the expectations placed on the MINI brand.
>The impressive success lies in the extraordinary mix of a unique product and a unique brand. Further growth will be based on the success of MINI we have already acquired in the United States over the last four years. We intend to turn even more people in the U.S., the world’s biggest vehicle market, into MINI enthusiasts.
>A new model is going to contribute to the American success story of MINI in the upcoming years: I am pleased to announce that we have very special news for you today: We have decided to add a new member to the MINI family.
>So there will be even more MINI. The new model will be based on the concept vehicle you are about to see. This MINI combines the typical core characteristics – design, go-kart feeling and maximum individuality – with an increase in functionality. It is going to be an even better match for the active and free-spirited lifestyle of its drivers.
>We have spent quite some time thinking about adding a new member to the MINI family. But initially, we decided to focus on consistent brand positioning and development. Now the time has come for a new model – a model that incorporates the typical MINI characteristics while at the same time remaining unique and different.
>This is not simply a larger MINI. The vehicle has been redesigned from scratch as numerous details and design elements show. This means that the new MINI model plays its own role on an equal footing with the MINI Convertible and the MINI core model.
>The concept study I have brought today is a foretaste of what is about to come. We will shortly be revealing the MINI Concept Detroit, and you will discover some details which are going to be characteristic for the upcoming series model. A similar series vehicle will be on the road within the next three years.
>It was not difficult for us to settle on the MINI Concept Detroit as the model for a new series vehicle. You know that we have already shown MINI concepts at the International Motor Shows in Frankfurt and Tokyo. Both studies have been met with overwhelming approval.
>I am proud to present the MINI Concept Detroit to you now. “Go Sports!” is the motto of the vehicle we have especially designed for the North American International Auto Show. It is a vehicle that interprets the idea of “winter sports” with a focus on functionality and clever solutions down to the last detail. The MINI Concept Detroit is strongly influenced by classic models from the 1960s. That was the time of the Mini-Traveller and its successors which symbolized a new active and mobile lifestyle. So our future series vehicle is also an homage to the concept of these historical, more spacious four-seaters.
>The MINI Concept Detroit offers dynamics and sufficient room for sports equipment. The enlarged trunk with its innovate box system and the roof rack get snowboards and mountain bikes to their destination.
>The doors with their parallelogram kinematics allow for ideal access. The idea behind the MINI Concept Detroit is thus: “as small as possible, as large as necessary”.
>Ladies and Gentlemen, last but not least I would like to introduce Jim McDowell to you. The new Vice President of MINI USA is going to continue the MINI success story in the U.S. market.
>And here it comes: the MINI Concept Detroit!
MINI USA Press