Not long ago BMW execs were gung ho about expanding the MINI lineup to between eight and ten separate models
in a quest to boost sales, however, since then the focus has switched to improving the design and quality
of the brand’s core models or “pillars” as they’re referred to internally. At present the pillar models are the regular Cooper and Countryman lines, and in the future a new, super-sized Clubman
could be added to that list.
The information was revealed by MINI product manager Oliver Friedmann during a recent interview with Automotive News
(subscription required). He explained that additional models like the Coupe, Roadster and Paceman weren’t brand pillars and may not be replaced once the current models reach the end of their run.
“It’s not decided but most probably this is not a priority,” Friedmann said when quizzed about their fate. “Our first priority is to roll out a portfolio that has strong pillars and to be absolutely clear what each stands for.”
The sales figures explain it all. In 2013, European sales figures for the Coupe, Roadster and Paceman were 3,858 units, 2,678 units and 8,229 units, respectively, according to IHS Automotive data. By comparison, MINI sold 47,177 Countrymans and 78,102 Coopers in Europe over the same period.
But in addition to low sales, MINI also has poor quality concerns to address. According to the most recent J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability study, MINI ranked last
, with its vehicles having an average of 185 problems per 100 vehicles based on the survey results.
Going forward, it looks like fewer models and a focus on quality and design improvements are on the agenda for MINI.
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