In an interview with Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsey, MINI’s new marketing manager, Tom Salkowski, had some interesting things to say about the landscape of MINI’s competition. Among general comments about MINI’s continued success amidst a growing competition, he reportedly had this to say about Fiat’s 500:

“The 500 is a darling little car, but MINI is a premium brand.”

This sentiment echoed when asked what other marques are thought of as competition for MINI in the small car segment. “…maybe Volkswagen, Mazda, Scion in the small-car segment,” going on to say that “Mini is very much a mindset, it’s different than other vehicles…for the time being we don’t see anything.”

Oliver Friedmann, head of product management, agreed saying, “We don’t see any one-to-one competition, maybe the [Range Rover] Evoque could be [for the R60].”

Ramsey goes on to ask about the emotional heritage of brands like Lotus and BMW, asking how big the cars and the brand can get and still be small enough to be considered “mini”. Friedmann replied, “That’s what we try to find out at the moment. We just jumped over the four-meter line with the Countryman,” going on to add that the european reaction to the R60 has been “very positive.” Further adding “The competitors for the Countryman are significantly larger. We will always stay the smallest in the segment.”

Catch that last bit? We know that MINI has a lot of future models in the works, and it’s nice to hear the guys at the top saying that small will always be part of the brand DNA.