Can’t make it to Geneva? As always we’ve got you covered. Here’s the full MINI press conference including world debut of the JCW Convertible (complete with yeti).

Speech by Ian Robertson Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show

Full text below after the jump.

With a fully electric-powered drive-train, the MINI E offers a whole new world of emission-free driving fun.

This MINI is a breakthrough of the MINI brand into a new age of mobility.

There will soon be over 500 MINI E vehicles tested in everyday urban driving in the United States and Germany. Our customers’ first-hand experiences will assist us in developing a series production vehicle within the BMW Group.

We chose MINI for this pilot project because MINI is the ideal city car.

Today I would like to address three main topics with you:

– 50 Years of MINI
– an overview of the current status of MINI worldwide
– and last but certainly not least, the introduction of our exciting new products.

Ladies and Gentlemen –
This year is a very special one – MINI turns 50 – and I hope you would agree that it is still the “most exciting small car brand in the world”!

How has MINI succeeded at this age to remain so young?

The Mini was launched in 1959, as the British Motor Corporation’s answer to the successful foreign small “bubble” cars. In a time marked by fuel crisis and petrol rationing, BMC boss Leonard Lord, instructed his brilliant designer Alec Issigonis, to develop a British small car.

Issigonis created a piece of history when he created the Mini – short for “miniature” – which made its debut in August 1959. I am pleased to be able to share with you here today an original 1959 Morris Mini-Minor – one of the first three to come off the production lines.

Having also just turned 50 – I personally feel a special affinity for Mini – which was our family car after my birth and during many other phases of my life.

The world fell in love with the Mini, including the rich and famous – The Beatles, Brigitte Bardot, Peter Sellers, Twiggy began driving Minis and even members of the Royal Family were seen around town in the cheeky cars.

People began to realize that the Mini was more than just a car – it was a fashion statement – the symbol of a generation – and a whole new way of life.

When the Cooper version came along, racers also discovered that the Mini was a winner – all Minis became renowned for their great handling. After just a short time, the Mini began to win many racing titles – most famously the Monte Carlo rally – which it won three times.

In short – Mini became an “icon“: establishing itself as a unique brand associated with tradition and irresistible charm and winning over all age groups.

When Mini came under the BMW Group in 1994, it was decided to take up the tradition and to continue this unique history. “From the original to the original” – was the philosophy right from the start in designing the New MINI.

The launch of the New MINI in 2001 marked the beginning of a new success story.
Since then:

– we have sold around 1.4 million MINI cars
– MINI is now available in 80 markets
– and there are around 1,300 certified MINI dealers worldwide.

What are the reasons why the New MINI has been so successful?

Quite simply, because we have consistently focused upon making MINI a genuine premium brand.

We have achieved this through creating outstanding product substance – respecting tradition, and at the same time – meeting the demands of today’s customers.

Perhaps one of the best examples is MINI’s unique design – which still maintains the character of the charismatic “icon”.

We have also enhanced the “go-kart” feeling in the MINI – as well as offering a wide range of customization options which allow for the individuality of each car.

Also, we understood how important it was for the MINI family to grow – which now includes derivatives such as the Convertible, the Clubman and still to come – the MINI Crossover.
There is no doubt – the MINI brand is thriving and authentic to the core!

Let’s take a look at the business of MINI: MINI had an outstanding year in 2008.

Worldwide we sold a total of 232,000 MINIs – a record for the New MINI – and four percent more than the previous year. The United States overtook the U.K. to become the largest single market for MINI, with sales of more than 54,000 cars in 2008. We are confident that MINI will continue to be successful in the long term.

Customers can look forward to even more exciting new MINI models in 2009, as well as even more efficient technologies.

A wide range of features to optimize fuel economy and minimize emissions are standard on almost all new MINI cars in Europe.

We will start the 2009 model year with 7 MINI models which generate no more than 140 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This is what we call “MINIMALISM” – realized through BMW Group Efficient Dynamics measures.

Ladies and Gentlemen –
I am excited to be able to present the world premiere of three very special MINIs to you today.

These new models underscore the consistent growth and development of the MINI family and will be available at the end of this month.
Let me begin with the new entry-level version of the MINI One.

The MINI One with 75 horsepower (55kW) makes entry into the MINI world now even more accessible. This model combines the fascination of MINI driving fun with maximum economy:
Fuel consumption of 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emission levels of 128 grams per kilometre.

Here is another new member of the team – the MINI One Clubman.

The MINI One Clubman is powered by a 95 horsepower (70kW) four-cylinder petrol engine, which already demonstrated its efficiency in the MINI One.

With fuel consumption and CO2 emission levels of 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres and 130 grams per kilometre – this new model highlights the brand’s aspiration to combine product substance with driving fun and driving economy.

The efficiency measures auto start-stop, brake energy regeneration and gear shift indicator come as standard on both of these new entry models, the MINI One and the MINI One Clubman.

Both are equipped with the latest generation of 4-cylinder gasoline engines. Front-wheel drive guarantees the brand’s signature go-cart feeling. But above all they are unbeatably efficient. This is MINIMALISM at its best!

Of course, high-performance engines also play an important part in driving fun.
Just a few weeks after the world debut of the new MINI open four-seater – I would now like to present to you the world premiere of the MINI John Cooper Works Convertible!

This is the fastest MINI Convertible in history. 211 horsepower (155 KW), an acceleration of zero-to-one hundred in 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 235 km/h speak for themselves. Racing is in our blood and believe me, your blood will be racing with this new hot MINI.

Here is our world premiere – the new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible!

The new MINI John Cooper Works Convertible creates a storm – it is the ultimate thrill of open-driving in all weather conditions.

With more speed, more sportiness – this car simply begs you to drive with the roof down. Stormy enthusiasm is evoked by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder power unit – complete with a twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection.

In short – this car combines the drive technology of a racing car with the beautiful aesthetic looks of the MINI Convertible – providing unique driving fun!

When it comes to speed – Silverstone is the heart of British racing. And I would like to invite all of you to come and join us from 22nd to 24th May in Silverstone to celebrate MINI’s 50th birthday at the third MINI United Festival.

I hope you have a great time here today. Thank-you for your attention!