P90096899_Rocketman

Last week we [asked](http://www.motoringfile.com/2015/01/16/mf-poll-rocketman-or-superleggera/) MotoringFile readers which of the Rocketman or the Superleggera they would rather have MINI produce. Since both concepts present so much appeal, answering this question was no easy task, but more than 700 of you participated in the poll and we are very thankful for that. We’ve already spoiled the final result of our investigation with the title of this post, so let’s look at the numbers in detail.

Overall, 56% of respondents would like MINI to produce the Rocketman but 44% of them would prefer the Superleggera. Although this is a close call, MotoringFile readers seem to have more affinity for the smaller concept. With this survey our goal was also to understand who Rocketman and Superleggera would-be owners are, and while these deeper insights are interesting, they are mostly expected:

– All Classic Mini owners voted for the Rocketman
– Owners of 2nd generation Hardtops voted in majority for the Rocketman
– Coupe and Roadster owners voted in majority for the Superleggera
– Most R53 owners voted for the Rocketman
– Clubman, Countryman, and Paceman owners almost equally voted for the Rocketman and the Superleggera

With that in mind, it is not surprising to see Rocketman winning this poll. MINI is indeed selling way more Hardtops than Coupes or Roadsters, and Hardtop owners drove (no pun intended) the final result of our study. But as far as the choice of Clubman, Countryman and Paceman owners is concerned, the outcome is somehow unexpected. Our guess is that these people would buy the Rocketman or the Superleggera as a secondary vehicle, thus explaining why they are undecided between the two models. Any of them would be nice to have as an additional car. Note that the main reason for underlining the choice of R53 owners, is because in everyone’s opinion the Rocketman would present driving dynamics and enjoyment similar to the dearly-missed R53.

The most interesting question to ask is regarding the relevance of these results. Our readers are often slated as being ultimate MINI fanboys that believe BMW has “ruined the brand” and that the R53 will remain the best MINI for all eternity. This supposition would make the outcome of our poll biased. However, as it turns out, the results are actually quite indicative of what current and prospective owners want from the brand. Since 2002, MINI USA has sold 609,892 cars. If we assume that all of these cars are still on the road (highly improbable), the sample size (i.e. number of respondents) needed to reach a conclusion with a 95% confidence level and a 5% confidence interval would be 384. We have a total of 712 participants primarily based in the US. In addition, we can make the assumption that the Rocketman and the Superleggera are equally likely to be produced at this point in time. So there you have it MINI – that fact that 56% of respondents want a Rocketman is indeed representative of what MINI buyers want.

Does this mean MINI should produce this particular car? It’s hard to tell at this point. There is world between coming up with a concept and making a business case for it. Does it fit with the rest of the lineup? Is it economically viable for the BMW Group? Do manufacturing capabilities exist to support this model? Is MINI willing to cannibalize sales of the Hardtop? Can MINI price this car in accordance with its target market? Etc.

The potential is there, but does it make sense from a business standpoint, that’s a different story. Let’s see what happens next.