Report: Mini to Scale Back Lineup, Coupe and Roadster Likely Discontinued
Mini's lineup is not so mini anymore. With seven different body styles in production, Mini has quite a portfolio. But only about half of them sell worth a darn. So what's Mini to do? Start paring off models that aren't making too much business sense these days, according to a recent report. First introducing its 2014 Mini Cooper and Cooper S, Mini is rolling out a new architecture that it shares with BMW called "UKL." This UKL chassis will eventually underpin every vehicle in Mini's lineup and it will implement a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine as well as a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in higher-spec cars, at least in the U.S. Evidence of this can be seen in the concept version of the 2015 Mini Clubman, which sheds its unusual half-door for four real doors and its split-open rear doors. Growing 10 inches in length over the current model, the concept previewed what is likely to be a car that will try to go after more of the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen/Golf Variant's market share in Europe. The 2014 Mini Cooper and Cooper S are about 4.5 inches longer than the outgoing models. Other models like the Paceman, Cooper Coupe, and Cooper Roadster have been niche sellers at best for BMW's entry-level brand. The Mini Cooper hardtop and Countryman have, by far, been Mini's most successful models. Last week, Mini officials said that the Countryman would be the largest vehicle in the Mini stable--the brand won't make a seven-seater like what had been previously reported. Mini is now focused on building the brand on three strong pillars: The Countryman, Cooper, and Clubman. That means other models like the Coupe and Roadster would likely be phased out without replacements after their seven-year model cycles are over. But with the core models, Mini will still have plenty of room to expand. Expect Mini to gain various new powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid and diesel, over the next few years. The Mini brand is refocusing on core models, but don't think that means retreating by any means. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
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