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We’ve been too expensive, says Mini boss

Price slide: Mini's 5-door range starts from $27,750, which is $3900 cheaper than the entry price from the previous generation three-door Cooper hatch.

Pressure from customers, market sees Mini carve thousands off best-selling models

31 Oct 2014

MINI has been pricing its models too high, according to the British brand's local chief, but recent price cuts to its three-door hatch range should help boost volume.

Speaking with GoAuto at the launch of the 5-door range in Adelaide, Mini Australia general manager Kai Bruesewitz said the marque has been priced “at the higher end”, and that a reduction is important for the brand’s return to growth.

“We have probably been, in recent years, in Australia on the higher end [of price] in our segment,” he said. “We wanted to be, from a price perspective, more appealing to the market.”

The third-generation R56 Mini Cooper three-door range is priced at $5000 less than the previous generation car and now kicks off with a base One variant from $24,500, plus on-road costs.

The newly launched 5-door starts at $27,750 and is $1100 more expensive than the three-door, but still undercuts the previous generation cars by $3900.

“With the new generation, Mini has reviewed its position, and then made those changes, which have translated into a $5000 improvement versus the predecessor,” he said.

Mr Bruesewitz also acknowledged that the revised pricing structure was not part of a worldwide strategy.

“It’s been customer feedback, press feedback, which we have taken on board, that has given us the right arguments to discuss and negotiate with our headquarters, and we feel we now have the right product for the right price [in Australia],” he said.

The UK-built Cooper three-door is selling strongly, averaging 150 sales a month since its launch in April. Mini Australia’s sales are down 12 per cent year on year, with 1738 units shifted compared with 1976 in the same period last year, a result of the new model changeover.

“We're very happy so far with the market demand on the 3-door, and with the order situation. If that continues, then we're pretty happy. Supply could have been a bit better, but obviously with other markets launching earlier than we did.

“The car, globally, has been received very well. We had to wait a bit. In the last two months in particular, though, we have got the cars that we needed.”

The price reductions haven’t been applied across the Mini line-up with the slow-selling Cooper Paceman crossover coupe the only other model to receive any kind of downward adjustment since mid-year, shedding $1750 in 1.6 guise, and $1550 in S spec.

Mini sells about 2500 vehicles a year in Australia, and it has sold 25,000 cars here since 2002.

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