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Mini set for new sales record

Growth spurt: Mini's latest-generation F56 Hatch has helped lift sales in Australia, which should reach record levels by the year's end.

F56 Hatch and new 5-door lifting Mini to new heights Down Under

Mini logo16 Jul 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

MINI is set to record its best year-end sales since it set up shop in Australia 2001, as it pushes past the 3000-unit mark for the first time.

The BMW Group-owned brand is enjoying a healthy jump in sales, with its year-to-date total sitting at 1671 units, a massive 58.8 per cent leap over the first six months of 2014.

The sales surge is down to the popularity of the F56 three-door Hatch that went on sale last April, and its more practical 5-door stablemate that arrived in October, that have seen a combined sales increase of 124 per cent so far this year.

Official VFACTS sales data only records the total Mini Hatch sales which encompasses both body styles, but Mini confirmed that the sales split is 60-40 in favour of the 5-door, which equates to about 788 examples of the 5-door.

Mini Australia national manager Kai Bruesewitz told GoAuto that while the company was pleased with the result of the 5-door, he was more impressed with the strong uptake of the three-door.

“We are in particular happy with the 40 per cent of the three-door, also, because Australia being such a dominant five-door market,” he said at the Mini Hatch John Cooper Works launch on Phillip Island this week.

“It speaks for the heritage and the iconic Mini hatch that we have 40 per cent of our total Hatch volume for three-door.”

In terms of its overall volume, Mini is on track to easily beat last year's record haul of 2570 units, but Mr Bruesewitz declined to be more specific when it comes to targets.

“We are pretty confident with 3000 and maybe a few hundred more,” he said. “If you projected 1600 by half year, then do the maths. We might end up in the lower half of 3000 somewhere.”

Mr Bruesewitz said some customers may have to wait up to three months for their Mini, depending on what they have optioned, and added that he was anticipating a strong second half, but perhaps not as strong as the first six months of 2015.

“We have a strong order bank and that gives us confidence for the months to come and obviously June was a fantastic month, not only for us but for the entire industry and (BMW) Group.

“Given the orders we have taken and the order bank we are confident for the second half of the year as well and, obviously with new fantastic JCW Hatch, we will see the momentum continue and as mentioned in quarter four we will launch the new Mini Clubman which is also going to be a phenomenal car,” he said.

“So there is a bit happening, which gives us confidence that we will continue.

Maybe not with 59 per cent growth rates, but somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent.”

Mini dropped the price of its F56 Hatch variants compared with the previous model when it launched last year, and Mr Bruesewitz said the current pricing structure was successful and did not require more attention at the moment.

“The volume speaks for itself,” he said. “We have hit the sweet spot there, with the pricing of the three-door and the 5-door. Now as you’ve seen the JCW is very attractively priced given the very extensive standard spec for the car.

“I think with the pricing we can be comfortable at the moment. Of course we always review our pricing you know if there is a need. But I am particularly happy with the pricing we have achieved with JCW.”

The British brand introduced an entry level One version of the three-door in July last year, giving the Hatch a new $24,500 starting price, while the 5-door One lobbed in April this year starting from $26,050, plus on-road costs.

Mr Bruesewitz said the base pair were more than just marketing tools, suggesting that they add volume to the car-maker's total sales.

“They give us volume as well, but we are pleased with the model mix. So our Cooper S has a great reception here in the Australian market.

“We have a very strong engine mix if I compare with other global markets. And the One models, they give us access to more price sensitive target groups in their mid-20s. So it's important that we have that offering.” After 13 years on the local market, Mini has strong brand recognition in Australia, according to Mr Bruesewitz, but added that it has improved further with the latest generation of models on the roads.

“We are pretty comfortable. We started last year with the three-door and then the 5-door with big, big campaigns. And I think the exposure we had has also further increased the awareness of the brand in Australia and obviously with the increased volume we get a higher street visibility.

“The Mini has always been, and still is, a sympathetic car. And everybody loves the Mini and the pricing we have achieved, it is great that more people are taking up that offer and buying a car now.”

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