Amidst growing competition in the compact hatchback and crossover segment, Mini will stop production of its 2014 Mini Coupe, 2014 Mini Roadster, and 2015 Mini Paceman models. The move will help the BMW-owned brand consolidate its offerings as it attempts to justify its premium prices with a more upmarket product approach.

Shirking its previous strategy of adding a variety of models to help instigate growth, Mini will instead opt to focus on a core lineup of just five models. The brand will focus on model quality rather than quantity to help stand out against rivals like the less-expensive 2015 Fiat 500 or 2015 Nissan Juke. 

Speaking at the recent unveiling of the new 2016 Mini Clubman in Berlin, Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand, said, “This will be the start of a new era for Mini,” and that the brand is “...kicking off a new chapter where we’re going to expand into the premium compact class,” thus developing Mini’s “visual identity” in the minds of consumers.

Traditionally, Mini has been all about quirkiness and fun, but now, it appears as though it wants to take things a little more seriously.

This new ritzy approach is reflected in the changes performed on the new Clubman wagon. The new car is now much bigger, gaining almost 12 inches in length and over 4.5 inches in width. It’s also more practical, offering four full-size doors and comfortable seating for five. It also looks more upscale, with sleeker, cleaner lines and daytime running lamps in the front. 

No word yet on when exactly the Coupe, Roadster, and Paceman models will finally stop production.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

With the rise in brand perception and vehicle sophistication, Mini hopes that it can stay competitive and maintain its high prices. It‘s a sensible move in the present market, which is currently filled to the brim with crossovers and compacts. This glut of models makes for some pretty tempting deals for consumers. For example, the Fiat 500 starts at under $17,000, while the competing Mini Hardtop two-door comes in at $20,700. That’s a lot of extra money for a Mini badge, and consumers may have a hard time justifying the extra outlay without something to show for it. A shift in brand perception could very well do the trick.

It‘s a sensible move in the present market, which is currently filled to the brim with crossovers and compacts.

So far, demand for Minis has remained somewhat steady, with the brand moving 302,200 units in 2014, which is in line with previous sales numbers. It’s reported that 80 percent of those sales were for the Countryman model. What’s more, sales are expected to reach a new record this year thanks to the new five-door 2014 Mini Cooper and the updated Clubman. 

The final lineup of vehicles is not yet confirmed, although it’s expected that the iconic Cooper will be offered in both five- and three-door variants, while the Clubman, upcoming Cabriolet and Countryman will also make the list. The 2014 Mini Superleggera roadster concept could also enter production to round out the five, while a larger, more mainstream crossover is also rumored.

Taking a step back, it’s not altogether surprising that Mini has decided to take this route. Originally, back in the ‘60s, the brand was all about offering the most fun for your dollar. The cars were small but quick, with torquey little motors that would send the nippy FWD hatches across curvy back roads with far more alacrity than you’d expect. The old Minis even saw a good amount of success in rally racing. The interior space was tiny, but swallowed far more stuff than seemed possible. Above all, the original Mini was about using small cars to have a lot of fun.

When BMW bought the name in 2001, Mini turned into a fashion statement. The cars got bigger and heavier, and all the new variants felt like lifestyle solutions rather than smile-makers.

Hopefully, Mini will give us at least a taste of its former glory as it moves further along this premium pathway. Personally, I wanna see a cheap, no-frills Cooper two-door with sticky tires and beefy suspension. Make it fun, and maybe it’ll actually live up to that moniker displayed so prominently on the body panels. 

2014 Mini Coupe

2014 Mini Coupe High Resolution Exterior
- image 512673

Read our full review here.

2014 Mini Roadster

2014 Mini Roadster High Resolution Exterior
- image 540514

Read our full review here.

2015 Mini Paceman

2015 Mini Paceman High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 550153

Read our full review here.

Source: Bloomberg

What do you think?
Car Finder: