BMW is rethinking the MINI brand now that sales are looking up. Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for MINI, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad and After Sales, explained how he plans to develop the brand: “Since its creation in 1959, the MINI brand has always stood for ideas, inspiration and passion. That will not change. The new MINI Clubman is the symbol of our refined brand philosophy: We will concentrate in future on five core models with strong characters. We will open ourselves up to new ideas and new business areas. We will develop the brand’s visual identity. We are expanding our offering into the premium compact class, which will attract new customers and avid MINI fans. I firmly believe that this comprehensive realignment will enable us to continue the MINI brand’s unique success story.”
What does all that corporate PR speak mean? It means that MINI is going upscale. Introduced in Berlin along with Schwarzenbauer’s words was the new MINI Clubman, a premium compact with a larger size and price point. Aimed for the entry level luxury buyer, the Clubman targets that segment that is expected to grow the quickest in the premium-level markets.
The MINI Clubman introduces both a turbocharged three-cylinder and turbo four-cylinder and a new six or eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The transmission is available in both standard and sport models with launch control.