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Hatch to remain Mini's top seller

Mini mania: Mini hopes to grow the brand in Australia in the next few years and expects to sell around 200 examples of the new Paceman coupe this year.

Mini to grow in Australia but original hatch will stay number one

Mini logo6 Mar 2013

MINI is confident that its iconic hatch will remain the brand's top selling vehicle despite an expanded range and news of more body styles on the way.

Speaking at this week's Paceman launch in Brisbane, Mini Australia national manager Kai Bruesewitz said that the hatch will always be the most popular model for the BMW-owned company.

“I think the hatch will always be the top seller,” he said. “The share might go down with the increasing attraction of other models but that’s fine.

“With the launch of the Countryman, the share of the hatch decreased but it is still by far our most popular model and this will always be.” Last year, Mini sold 2394 units in Australia, a moderate rise of 4.5 per cent from the 2291 vehicles that were sold in 2011.

The hatch was easily the top seller with 1475 units sold, followed by the Countryman compact SUV with 516 sales.

Internationally, Mini recorded growth of 6 per cent in 2012 with a record 300,000 units sold.

Mr Bruesewitz said that he hoped that the local division of the British brand would grow significantly over the coming years but would not be drawn on how many units they would like to sell.

39 center imageFrom top: Mini Australia national manager Kai Bruesewitz, Mini Paceman JCW and Mini Countryman.



“I can’t tell you any numbers. We certainly want to grow in Australia but it is depending on external factors. We sold 2300 last year and we certainly want to increase that.

“Of course I want to sell 5000 but we need to have the right product offered and the right price as well.” Mr Bruesewitz said that Mini's model expansion and sales growth would not necessarily dilute the brand, with hardcore enthusiasts of the original Mini warming to the brand over time.

“There will always be some customers who think we shouldn’t do that (expand), but on the other side, to survive in this very intense industry and global competition, Mini also has to grow as every other car brand has aspirations to grow.

“So we see opportunities in other markets, even though we are currently present in more than 80 markets. I don’t think the current customer base will have a problem with Mini increasing its volume. It’s just natural and probably the time we are in,” he said.

Mini's performance-focused John Cooper Works variants are proving to be very popular locally, with Mr Bruesewitz confirming that Australia is now one of world's the biggest markets for the sporty Minis.

“Certainly of the mature markets, we are certainly the market with the highest JCW share. Around about 6 per cent of all Mini sales last year were JCW. We expect for this year that will probably be on the same level with the Paceman JCW coming.” Mr Bruesewitz said that he expected sales of the Paceman to be split 50/50 between the base Paceman Cooper and Paceman Cooper S and has forecast sales of 200 units of its first year of sales.

While the Paceman JCW arrives in Australia in May with the ALL4 all-wheel drive system, Mini has ruled out introducing it to the rest of the Paceman range for now, with take-up of the system on the Countryman compact SUV accounting for 30 per cent of sales.

“We don’t have those plans for the moment. Also with the Countryman, the ALL4 option is available but the uptake is moderate which is fine, but that made us think that we will leave it to the JCW model,” he said.

As for a diesel variant of the Paceman, Mini will hold off on introducing it in the short term to evaluate demand, but Mr Bruesewitz said that could change if enough customers requested it.

“If we should get signals from the dealers and sales staff that there is high demand for a diesel then we would definitely revisit that decision. If we decided today to bring the diesel we could do it tomorrow basically.” With news of the next-generation Mini hatch arriving in 2014, Mr Bruesewitz said that to keep up interest in the aging hatch, it will look into special editions leading up to the end of its life-cycle.

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