Mini aims for maxi savings
THE first sub-$30,000 Mini leads this week’s growing list of valueadded newcomers to Australian motoring showrooms.
The Mini Ray comes as GM Holden unleashes a special Thunder Commodore ute, Nissan boosts value on its 370Z, and Honda works to cash in on a value boost to the mainstay Civic Hatch in March.
Renault has also stretched its appeal with the first five-year warranty deal on a European car, while Toyota is preparing a retail sales attack for May across its range and BMW has slashed up to 11 per cent from the showroom price tags on its 3 Series bedrock models.
The bottom line on the Ray has dropped all the way to $25,500, but Mini is protecting its mainstream models from erosion by limiting supply to just 300 cars— and fitting hubcabs.
The Ray also drops to a 1.6-litre engine with a meagre 72kW, against 90kW in a Mini Cooper, although the compensation is better listed fuel economy of 5.4 litres/100km.
The Ray move is copied from its launch in Italy, where it worked well for the brand. Mini says the car still has six airbags, a six-speed manual gearbox and denies any dilution of the brand’s quality.
At the opposite end, Renault is looking to boost its brand with a new flagship called Latitude.
It takes the place of the unloved Laguna with a starting price of $36,990 and targeted rivals including the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.
‘‘We are ready to demonstrate our commitment to Australian cus- tomers,’’ says Renault boss, Justin Hocevar, confirming the five-year warranty that applies to the Latitude and all passenger cars in the brand’s range which have been on sale since April 1.
For Holden, the Thunder ute revives a package last seen on the VZ Commodore and is claimed to celebrate the 60th birthday of the first Holden ute.
It’s a claimed $3000 value boost on the SS and SV6 that only adds alloy wheels, leather seat bolsters, satnav and — predictably — special stickers. Nissan has done more with the 370Z, although it has also lifted prices by $650 for the coupe and $800 for the roadster — despite the strength of the Australian dollar — and says the offset is a new sound and satnav system, a reversing camera, a cargo blind for the coupe, climate-controlled seats for the roadster, and wide-angle mirrors.
The 3 Series action at BMW is focused above the starter car, but amounts to a $9100 reduction on some 325i models and more than $3000 across the long-standing M3 collection.
The Mini Ray takes its lead from a value-adding campaign launched in Italy and drops to a less thirsty 1.6-litre engine