BMW News

The BMW Group thinks that stronger sales of Mini cars so far this year makes this the perfect time for some changes. When the new Mini Clubman was launched in Berlin this year, Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Mini, Rolls-Royce, BMW Motorrad, and After Sales, revealed how he plans to develop the Mini brand, saying, “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.”

We wonder if Mr. Schwarzenbauer has talked with the BMW 1 Series managers about these plans.

Record sales and sustainable growth

Mini is on a roll. Last year wasn’t great, but with model changeovers, Mini sales have seen double-digit growth in 2015. The company has sold 163,000 vehicle so far this year. Schwarzenbauer explained, “We are heading for the best June in Mini history, meaning our sales will be up more than 20 percent. We will carry this momentum forward into the second half of the year and I am optimistic that Mini will achieve a new sales high in 2015.”

Mini enters the premium compact class

Mini is anticipating that as they move the Mini Clubman into a higher vehicle class, the new and roomy Clubman will find favor with customers who appreciate the Mini’s design and driving for fun approach as well as its ability to be both an efficient daily driver and a long-distance road trip machine. Other BMW cars have made a living being good-looking, fun to drive, and utilitarian, so why shouldn’t Mini go for it as well?

It is understandable why Mini wants to put a car in the premium compact market segment. According to market studies, annual growth in that segment are projected at 4 percent, and the segment will represent more than 27 percent of the total global premium passenger car market by 2020.

Mini customers seem to be asking for more and more sophisticated options as well as good-handling cars.  Mini expects the Mini Cooper S to account for up to a third of sales over the medium term, while John Cooper Works Mini sales are expected double in the next five years.


You could always break drivers down into two groups: those who would allow valets to perk their cars, and those who wouldn’t. For those who would, Mini has engineered a system that will let lots of other people, not just valets, drive their Minis.

DriveNow up to this point has been a joint carsharing venture between BMW and Sixt that started in Munich in 2011 and has now spread to many cities in Europe and North America. As of about six months ago, DriveNow operated more than 2,400 vehicles and had over 330,000 customers. The BMW Group thinks that some Mini owners could benefit from loaning their cars to the DriveNow pool in return for some extra cash. Peter Schwarzenbauer explained the thinking behind the new Mini service offering, saying, “Society and the automotive industry are undergoing radical change. Mini customers are among the most progressive, open-minded target groups. So it makes sense for us to offer a car-sharing option for Mini starting in 2016.”

An optional equipment package will let Mini owners share their Mini with others, including DriveNow when they are not using the car. The launch date for this optioni appears to be as early as next year.

Mini’s new corporate design

If you’re going to change your product and brand strategy, you might as well change your logo while you’re at it. A two-dimensional symbol with new typography and new tonality—looks black and white to us—is supposed to represent clarity and authenticity and “will ensure the brand continues to shape the spirit of the times.” We find it interesting that after years of converting two-dimensional logos to three-dimensional ones, BMW Group is walking back the 3-D model for Mini.

Will buyers see Mini as a premium car? Maybe, if BMW markets it right.—Scott Blazey

[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]