The iconic small car brand is stepping out of BMW’s shadow
AUSTRALIA is about to get funky new dealerships which could be as simple as a giant glass cube when Mini goes solo.
The British-based, BMWowned brand is stepping out of the shadow of its owners in a move intended to give Mini more impact, and also provide for coming growth as its line-up expands massively to include everything up to
and beyond the new Coupe and Roadster.
Mini will be progressively migrated away fromBMW dealerships to separate showrooms in the biggest shake-up of Mini’s profile in Australia since the bornagain baby car was relaunched in 2001.
Mini will be its own, standalone brand,’’ BMWGroup Australia spokesman Piers Scott says.
Mini doesn’t fit the regular mould as a car, so there’s no reason why it should be sold in a traditional showroom. The family is growing and it’s now time for it to stand on its own.’’
Scott says overseas pilots of radically designed dealerships using a cube’’ concept may provide a direction for Australia. Other showrooms have mini racetracks on the roof and huge aquariums between parking bays in the service centre. BMWhas no firm timetable for such a move and Scott says existing dealers will take priority in the change.
In Australia we’re talking to dealers who took on Mini about channelling the appropriate resources into their retail outlets to reflect the expected growth of the brand,’’ Scott says.
Mini is a design-driven brand and it is time for staff and sites that reflect that unique approach.’’
He will not comment on how many dealerships Australia will have. Yet he says the continued expansion of the Mini range— the Coupe launches globally in September, followed by a Roadster in the middle of next year— justifies the move.
It’s partly a case of fit— Mini owners andBMWowners are very different people— and partly because some dealerships won’t have the room to display both model lines,’’ he says.
Scott says the move will not affect Mini’s niche status.
We’re looking to grow but Mini is never going to be a mainstream brand and our customers wouldn’t want it to be,’’ he says. We sold about 2200 cars last year, so it’s never going to be a major player in terms of volume.’’
Expanding: Some big ideas are being hatched for the Mini Picture: Belinda O’Neill
Coming attraction: Thenew Mini JCW