It might be voted as the second most influential car of the 20th century, but that doesn’t mean it’s not immune to market slumps like the rest of them. Yes, sadly, even MINI is suffering in car sales, and BMW is supposedly on rescue mode. Recently, there have been talks of the luxury car brand sharing operational space with MINI to lessen expenses and cut back dealer losses, according to AutoNews.com. It’s also trying to scale down its real estate, which MINI dealers think are “too large for today’s market.”
“It’s not sustainable,” said Michael Vadasz, general manager at Otto’s MINI in Exton, Pennsylvania and former chairman of the MINI supplier board. “We can’t afford to be in these big buildings.”
“You’ve got a small product line–all small cars–in a strong SUV market,” said Jason Willis, general manager of fixed operations at Willis Auto Campus in Des Moines, Iowa. “Our product doesn’t match the demand.”
Thanks to the increasing popularity of crossovers, the need for small cars like the MINI is getting trampled mercilessly. Case in point: Its peak sales in 2013 was 66,500. This year, it’s only 37,359. That’s a far cry from its targeted 100,000 sales per year.
The decision is still tentative, however. If it does push through, then the MINI brand will still have its own showroom and exclusive space for its staff. Still, pushing through with this plan might be the last nail in the coffin for the small cars–at least in the U.S–and the undisputed reign of sport utility vehicles (SUV).
“There’s little or no on the horizon to counsel the return of the small automotive,” executive analyst Rebecca Lindland of Kelly Blue Book stated. “I’d hate to see the franchise mannequin being the loss of life of Mini.”
“There’s very little on the horizon to suggest the return of the small car,” Lindland said. “I would hate to see the dealership model be the death of MINI.”
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