With
just days to go the July 7th public launch, BMW (G.B.) already holds 2,500 orders
for the new Mini.

Many of the customers willing to plunk down a deposit so they can be among
the first to be seen in the new car have yet to see one in the metal. Others
have inspected the car at motor shows and placed an order on the spot but none
have yet driven it.

The initial orders account for production as far ahead as October but insiders
from BMW’s specialist Mini marketing department think there are thousands
more potential buyers waiting for Saturday and the chance to ‘touch and
feel’ the new car before they sign on the dotted line.

“I reckon that by July 14th we’ll be quoting 2002 delivery,”
one source said.

BMW forecast that initial orders would be split 65/35 in favour of the more
powerful and more sporty looking 115bhp (85kW) Mini Cooper, distinguished from
the 90bhp/66kW Mini One by fillets of bumper chrome, a chromed grille and alloy
wheels. Currently, though, the order rate is 78 percent in favour of the sporty
Cooper, which hasn’t entirely surprised the marketers.

Although the range will eventually be offered in eight colours and with a vast
options list, launch stock is restricted to the Cooper in red or silver and
the One in blue or black with a limited factory option range.

The full eight colours, most options and a CVT automatic transmission will
become available in September when the Mini is launched in Europe. U.S. sales
begin in Spring 2002.


Strategic
Review-


BMW


U.S. marketing will be strongly targeted to trend-setters in areas such as
California and New York City and BMW insiders report strong interest following
the Mini’s appearance at selected U.S. motor shows.

“We had one guy on the stand, he’s got six cars already, and he was visibly
shaking with excitement at the Mini and wanting to know when he could buy one,”
a source said.

In the UK 148 of 153 BMW dealers have each committed around £100,000
to build and equip a dedicated showroom staffed by specialist Mini salespeople.
The exceptions are part of large dealer groups whose territories would have
overlapped with other Mini operations in their area.

BMW insiders think the new car will run for at least five or six years on the
current platform. “After that we’ll do a new platform on which we
can do more things [i.e. more body styles],” a source said.

A supercharged 1.6-litre engine is on the way and the Cooper S model in which
it stars will go on sale next Spring; in the U.S. alongside only the standard
Cooper as the One is not heading Stateside.

Final negotiations are under way for diesel engine supply with Toyota the current
front runner.

BMW (G.B.) would like to eventually offer a starter model priced below the
crucial £10,000 mark (the 1.6-litre One is £10,500) so a 1.4-litre
entry-level car is also likely.

Further out, new small engines from BMW’s engine plant in Hans Hall are
likely to replace the current motors sourced from a joint venture with DaimlerChrysler
in Brazil.

The new engines would probably be shared with BMW’s forthcoming 1-series
entry-level range.


To view related research reports, please follow the links
below:-

The
world’s car manufacturers: A financial and operating review

Automotive
regional report: Western Europe