Mini needs a fifth core model that stays true to the brand’utes heritage while drawing in more customers, but the man in charge of the brand doesn’t like automobiles.
Unless a previously unknown model crawls out of Mini’s history, one side of the dilemma will have to give up floor.
Ralph Mahler, Mini’s vice-president of product development, sparked sedan rumors earlier this month when he stated a conventional four-door makes good business sense, specially in the U.S. as well as Asia. His boss doesn’t disagree, but hates the idea.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group panel member in charge of the brand, told Automotive Information?Europe?that a small sedan doesn’t fit the brand.
“I can’t rule it out totally because we are operating a business here, and from that point of view it’s an interesting segment,” Schwarzenbauer stated. “But from a brand name perspective, I just don’t see a fit. We can’t envision the sedan that could come close to something that is authentically Mini.”
The Small boss admitted a sedan was one of the proposals drawn up for that brand’s final core model (or “superhero,” in Mini parlance).
Schwarzenbauer enjoys the Superleggera roadster concept, but said the volume could be too small. At the very least, he said, the model ought to?be a plug-in hybrid, not really a full EV. A smaller Mini hardtop is off the table because the automaker doesn’capital t have the proper structures.
Mini’s mystery design, whatever it ends up being, joins the Cooper hardtop, convertible, newly extended Clubman, and the upcoming Countryman.