BMW Expands the Mini to Reach New Customers

BMW has a new strategy to sell its iconic Mini car: make it larger, and sell it to families.

The new Mini Countryman is a crossover, with four doors and expanded leg and storage room in the back, Bloomberg News reported. This could help the company expand the brand's customer base beyond those who love the car for its retro chic.

"Our main aim is to unlock a wholly new target audience," Mini product manager Hans-Joachim Leonhardt told Bloomberg News. "Young families with kids, sporty youngsters, folks from modern milieus -- everyone can now drive a Mini."

BMW restarted the Mini brand in 2001. Since then, it has sold 1.7 million of the cars, attracting young customers it hopes will later purchase more expensive BMW cars.

The Countryman will go on sale in Europe next month, starting at 20,200 euros ($25,700). It is named after a Mini station wagon from the early 1960s.

"BMW has been building the Mini brand very successfully in the past ten years, but it needs to evolve," said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany.
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