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Aus sales of Mini JCW among world’s best

Hot country: Mini expanded its range of JCW-tuned models to four earlier this year with the introduction of the Countryman JCW.

Local desire for performance models boosts sales of Mini’s JCW sub-brand

4 Aug 2017

AUSTRALIA’S thirst for performance-focused vehicles has been reflected in the popularity of Mini’s John Cooper Works (JCW) variants, with local sales of the go-fast range among the highest in the world by percentage.

Parent company BMW has also enjoyed similar success, with take-up of M Performance vehicles in Australia the highest in the world by percentage of overall sales.

Speaking with journalists at a media event in Melbourne this week, Mini’s global senior vice-president, Sebastian Mackensen, said the JCW range was integral to Mini’s line-up in Australia.

“Here in Australia (JCW) is really a very strong part of our business,” he said.

“There seems to a be a great enthusiasm and acceptance for good performance vehicles and we enjoy the same experience as our colleagues from the (BMW) M brand do as John Cooper Works.”

Mini Australia general manager Tony Sesto pointed out that the percentage of Mini JCWs sold in Australia was around double the global average.

“At the moment here to date it’s sitting at about ten per cent of our overall portfolio,” he said.

“We’re quite strong in comparison to other markets. There are a couple which are one or two ahead of us but in terms of absolute volume we’re bigger than those and we’re looking to strengthen that share even further by the end of the year, now that we’ve just released the JCW in the Countryman.

“So we’re quite fortunate because this year we’ve had not only the Countryman in the JCW but we’ve had the Clubman join as well, so we’re confident that we can grow that ten per cent that we currently enjoy now even further before the end of this year.”

The global average for JCW uptake currently sits at around five per cent, while in terms of total volume sold, Australia sits around fifteenth.

With the arrival of the Countryman JCW in May, all of Mini’s five model lines – save the 5-door – are now equipped with a JCW variant.

When asked about potentially introducing a dedicated JCW-honed performance flagship model, Mr Mackensen said there were no current plans for such a model, but that Mini would not close off the possibility of it happening.

A potential standalone flagship for the brand could be a production version of the Superleggera concept first revealed in 2014, however Mr Mackensen claimed that the Superleggera was primarily a design exercise, and the fact that nothing has come of the concept since its unveiling suggests it will be confined to the history books.

Powering all current JCW variants is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of 170kW and between 320 and 350Nm depending on the model.

Mini is planning on introducing an all-electric model to the range in 2019 with a likely Australian arrival in following years, and when asked whether the green model would get a JCW version, Mr Mackensen coyly replied, “who knows.”

When it arrives, the all-electric model will likely be the second electrified Mini in the Australian range, with the Countryman S E All4 hybrid anticipated to land locally sometime next year.

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