When BMW brought back the Mini Cooper to the U.S. in 2002, many buyers welcomed its quirky, offbeat design. There was simply nothing like the Mini Cooper back then, and it has very few rivals now in 2020. But in a way, what the Mini lineup is known for presents a problem for the brand. U.S. buyers’ preferences are changing, forcing unique brands like Mini to evolve further and adapt. Could the brand go out of business?
Mini Coopers are becoming less popular
Automakers’ sales have taken a massive hit in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic rages. But sales for brands like Mini took a dip even before the global health crisis intensified. In the U.S., Mini’s 2019 sales were only a little more than half of its record numbers in 2013.
The challenge for Mini is that buyers are abandoning small cars for taller and more spacious crossover models. Five years ago, small car sales made up 18.2 percent of the total market share in the U.S, according to AutoNews. Fast-forward to June 2020, and small car sales have shrunk to 9.2 percent. During the same period, crossover sales have increased from 22.4 percent to 34.7 percent.
While it’s true that large car manufacturers like General Motors are killing off their small cars left and right, there’s still hope for the Mini brand. There’s still nothing quite like a Mini. And while the brand is going through an identity crisis right now, there’s no immediate risk of it going out of business at this point. To avoid the demise of models like the Smart Fortwo, Mini has already taken the necessary steps to remain relevant as U.S. buyers’ preferences continue to change.
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Mini already has a few crossover options
For years, the original Mini has been available in multiple body styles, including hatchback and coupe variants. But what changed the game for Mini was when it first introduced its Mini Countryman crossover in 2011. The Countryman is the largest option in the Mini lineup and is still popular on the roads today. Plus, there’s a hybridized version of the Countryman that’s worth considering too.
Mini also offers the slightly smaller Clubman model that looks like a crossover but provides a different performance experience compared to the Countryman. We can expect a fully redesigned Clubman and Countryman in 2023 and 2024, respectively. And on top of these offerings, there are the powerful John Cooper Works models that are enticing options too.
More Mini crossovers are coming
As you can tell, Mini offers a ton of different compact SUV options. Even so, Mini is planning to launch additional crossover models to remain competitive. Mini has already introduced an all-electric model, and according to AutoCar, the company might also add an all-electric small crossover. No word yet on when it would be offered in the U.S., though. A new compact crossover titled the Traveller will also be on the Mini horizon.