BMW on new Mini Clubman: "We are expanding our offering into the premium compact class which will attract new customers"
As it unveiled the redesigned Clubman, BMW Group said it was realigning the Mini brand's product and brand strategy.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member responsible for Mini, said: "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."
After a strong start to the year with double-digit growth, Mini delivered around 163,000 vehicles in the first half of 2015. "We are heading for the best June in Mini history, meaning our sales will be up more than 20%," said Schwarzenbauer. "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 claims to be the first brand to set premium standards for the small car segment. "Now, with the positioning of the Clubman in a higher vehicle class, Mini will once again raise the bar for top class design and high end product substance, thereby gaining new customers," BMW said.
Now in a higher vehicle class, the new and roomier Clubman is expected appeal to customers who particularly appreciate outstanding design and driving fun combined with everyday drivability and long distance suitability, versatility and comfort. The extension of the compact class product range coincides with the introduction of a common front wheel drive architecture which will be used across different models and brands - the Clubman shares its platform with BMW's 2 Tourer and Gran Tourer minivans/MPVs.
BMW said the new Clubman was entering "the market segment that promises the strongest growth in the future". Market studies forecast annual growth of 4% for the premium compact segment which will account for more than 27% of the total global premium passenger car market by 2020.
"Mini will participate in this growth. Customers increasingly choose a higher level of options. The company expects the percentage of sporty Cooper S models to account for up to a third of sales, depending on the model series, over the medium term. The share of ultra high performance John Cooper Works models is set to almost double to 5% of the model range."
Mini will also offer car sharing. Society's shift towards a "sharing economy" also fuels the success of the car-sharing concept DriveNow, which benefits to a large extent from the appeal of the Mini brand in cities.
Schwarzenbauer said: "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."
A new optional equipment package will enable customers to share their cars with others. Customers can make their vehicle available to DriveNow when not in use. This is also an attractive feature for fleet customers, enabling optimum use of fleet vehicles. This option will initially be available in the US in 2016 and later in DriveNow cities. In a further step, Mini will also enable a new form of vehicle lending ("peer-to-peer car sharing") for a defined circle of family and friends.
Brand ID is also being reworked. "A two-dimensional logo, new typography and new tonality underscore the basic idea of clarity and authenticity and will ensure the brand continues to shape the spirit of the times," BMW said.