Exec: New MINI to lead 2014 charge

Sporty icon ma­tures in de­sign and ‘driv­ing fun’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - MOTORING - By LI FANGFANG li­fang­fang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

With China as one of its top mar­kets, the UK-born life­style icon MINI chose Shang­hai as the fi­nale of its de­but cam­paign in late Novem­ber af­ter shows in Lon­don and Los An­ge­les.

“MINI’s growth in China is in­cred­i­ble, and mag­nif­i­cent,” said Jochen Goller, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of the brand. “It has been the most im­por­tant mar­ket for us.”

He told China Daily that MINI will post an “all- time sales record” this year in China with 28,000 cars de­liv­ered to clients.

That will rep­re­sent 20 per­cent growth from a year ago when it re­ported full- year sales of 23,275 units, up 51 per­cent from 2011.

“The all- new MINI we launched here is due to go on the China mar­ket in the first half of 2014 and I be­lieve it will drive the sales next year,” said Goller.

“That will help close the gap with the other three lead­ing MINI mar­kets.”

China cur­rently fol­lows the United States, the United King­dom and Ger­many as the brand’s big­gest mar­kets. Goller said the gap be­tween

It’s quite pos­si­ble that (China) will soon over­take our UK and Ger­man mar­kets. For the com­ing year, we will move our fo­cus of net­work ex­pan­sion to more in­land cities.” JOCHEN GOLLER SE­NIOR VICE-PRES­I­DENT

China and Ger­many is about 7,000 units, while the dif­fer­ence with the UK is 23,000 and 40,000 with the US.

“I am sure China will climb high. It’s quite pos­si­ble that it will soon over­take our UK and Ger­man mar­kets,” said Goller. “China’s mid­dle-class is grow­ing rapidly while in Europe it has been quite sta­ble.”

In the fi rst three quar­ters, MINI sold 19,570 ve­hi­cles in China, an in­crease of 13.4 per­cent year on year, even as its over­all sales in the first seven months dipped 1 per­cent world­wide.

“For the com­ing year, we will move our fo­cus of net­work ex­pan­sion to more in­land cities,” said Goller.

Work­ing for MINI’s par­ent BMW Group in China for years as the mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, Goller has been a first-hand wit­ness of MINI’s de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try dur­ing the past decade.

“It was fas­ci­nat­ing. I can still re­mem­ber the first year when MINI only had two deal­ers and de­liv­ered 300 cars in the coun­try.”

The years have also made him very fa­mil­iar with the lo­cal mar­ket and con­sumers.

“Chi­nese cus­tomers are very de­mand­ing.

“To fur­ther pro­mote the brand here, we need to hit the right tone and have the right sight,” said Goller.

Yet he said MINI’s cus­tomers are sim­i­lar in ev­ery cor­ner of the world.

“They buy a MINI for the same rea­son — to be trendy, sporty and have fun.”

The new-gen­er­a­tion model has made sig­nif­i­cant ad­vances in driv­ing fun, qual­ity and in­di­vid­u­al­ity, Goller said, adding the new de­sign so­lu­tions and exquisitely crafted ex­te­rior and in­te­rior de­tails make the new MINI even more mod­ern, eye- catch­ing and ver­sa­tile.

He said it is once again a pi­o­neer in in­di­vid­ual style, pre­mium qual­ity and high tech­nol­ogy.

The evo­lu­tion­ary re­fine­ment of its de­sign, en­tirely new en­gines and in­no­va­tive driver as­sis­tance sys­tems make the new MINI more ath­letic, effi cient, ex­pres­sive and pro­gres­sive than ever be­fore, he said.

The car’s char­ac­ter­is­tic gokart feel­ing is now en­hanced with ride com­fort as ad­justable dampers are of­fered as an op­tion for the first time.

More in­te­rior space, func­tion­al­ity and re­fine­ment of ma­te­ri­als and fin­ish re­flect the

MINI’S MILE­STONES

of­fi­cially goes on sale

launch of im­proved MINI

launch of the

Club­man

launch of the Cabrio, start of lo­cal­ized mar­ket­ing

“Be MINI” brand cam­paign kicks off

launch of “Chi­nese Job” mar­ket­ing cam­paign

ex­pan­sion of the prod­uct lineup, open­ing of its first 4S store

launch of the Coun­try­man

launch of the Coupe and Road­ster

launch of the high-tuned sub-brand John Cooper Works

the world’s first MINI brand ex­pe­ri­ence center opens in Shang­hai

the new MINI’s global de­but in Lon­don, Los An­ge­les and Shang­hai

pre­miere of MINI’s doc­u­men­tary film ma­tu­rity of the lat­est gen­er­a­tion, said Goller.

In the new model, the lug­gage com­part­ment has been ex­panded by 30 per­cent.

Goller said in­no­va­tive driver as­sis­tance sys­tems and the lat­est MINI Con­nected fea­tures al­low even more in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the driver and car. And the new MINI is the first au­to­mo­bile in its class to be fit­ted with LED head­lamps and a heads-up dis­play.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

With its trendy de­signs and good per­for­mance, the MINI at­tracts cus­tomers who seek in­di­vid­u­al­ity and qual­ity.

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