Mini Might Go More Mainstream With a New Sedan
It seems that BMW's desire to build a car for every niche in the market has trickled down to Mini, as rumors are swirling that the longtime purveyor of quirky five doors, will enter into the realm of regular four doors—but for China and North America only. In a recent conversation with vice-president of product management Ralph Mahler, AutoCar learned that Mini has been doing all sorts of research on market trends, and what they mean for various segments. Mahler was quoted as saying, “For example, in Asia and the US, the sedan [saloon] segment is very big. This is very interesting to us, of course.” As far as AutoCar is concerned, that's confirmation that Mini will indeed build a sedan, and if it looks like what you see above, I'm all for it. Though, I'd much rather see a sleek Superleggera (pictured below) make it to production, but that's just me. RELATED: Check Out Photos Of The Mini Superleggera Concept
The Mini faithful will no doubt be in a foul mood over this news, and grumble about how BMW keeps making their funky little brand more mainstream. Truth or not, overall, Mini is still a small brand in comparison to the rest of the industry, selling just 338,466 units worldwide in 2015. At least its cars still has goofy easter eggs, and fully customizable options, so I wouldn't declare Mini a sell-out just yet.
Besides, as Mahler pointed out to AutoCar, there is a precedent for a sedan in the Mini family. In 1961, the company produced the Riley Elf. “The sedan concept is in our history,” said Mahler, “So we have roots there. We have to look at it in a factual way. Customers may know of the strong heritage of the sedan concept, but it was never [sold in] big volumes. Most customers would hardly know that, so would they link to heritage?”
One fun way to be sure customers make that connection would be to name the new sedan Riley. I wouldn't hold my breath, though, cars don't get cool names anymore. The marketing team will probably cook up something ridiculous to target millennials—so look for the new Mini #MemeMobile coming fall 2018!
RELATED: Read Our Review of the 2016 Mini Clubman
Image Credit: AutoCar