Mini boss Kay Segler told Automotive News Europe that the Mini brand will expand its sales network in the U.S. and Asia but will cut the number of dealerships in countries in Europe that were affected by the sovereign debt crisis. Segler said that Mini’s dealerships will grow in number as it adds to its product lineup and improves on worldwide sales achieved in 2010.
He said that the company’s retail network will be expanded in China, Korea and the U.S. while those in markets like Spain and Italy will have their networks reduced “since some dealers are running out of steam.”
He clarified though that the company is still “optimistic “in these countries. Currently, Mini has about 1,500 dealerships worldwide. It was able to post its best ever global sales of 285,060 cars in 2011.
This is 21.7% higher than in 2010. Segler said that it hopes that in 2012, its growth will be at “a steady, sustainable rate." He predicts that Mini sales will continue to increase this year in the U.S., the brand's biggest single market where 57,511 models were sold in 2011.
Mini plans to expand the number of dealers in the U.S. from 110 to 125 locations. Mini sales in China increased by 51% to 17,650 last year. Segler said that the trend is expected to continue.
In the past few years, Mini expanded its lineup to add an SUV, roadster, coupe and cabriolet to the hatchback. Four more model versions are coming. Segler said that it seeks to expand the family from six to 10 models over the medium term.
Perfectly reflected into MINI’s new concept are the principles of its design language which has separated the brand from others. On the new concept (called the MINI Roadster) are the typical athletic taut surfaces, harmonious curves and parallel lines of a MINI car which complement well with its new sloping windscreen frame (its slope less 13 degrees than that on the MINI Convertible) as well as a short passenger compartment and a flat boot lid. Aside from these, the new concept comes with striking and polished stainless steel roll-over bars in three-dimensional sculpting for an added wow factor – these are even padded up front while a mount may be used for an optional wind protection insert.
Compared to the regular MINI cars, the new MINI Roadster is a bit wide along its waistline, running along the length of its body up to its tail end. This design gives the car an elegant silhouette and an unmistakable allure whether top down or not. The whole design is visually appealing but a wraparound chrome trim strip at the window and roof base even emphasizes the whole aesthetic. Compared to the windscreen frame on the MINI Convertible, the ones on the new Roadster is heavily raked and sharply tapers upwards giving a more distinct and strong impression on a head-on viewing.
As is a custom with all MINI cars, the new Roadster is given a powerful over-the-wheel stance which definitely plays a big role in its overall appearance. Distinctive design features are found on the new Roadster giving it its own unique identity – such features include the hexagonal contours on its radiator grille, a black border that wraps around the lower part of its body, an array of chrome strips and edging, a pair of large circular headlights with integrated direction indicators, vertically stacked rear lights found on the outer extremes of its rear, and last but definitely not the least, is the eye-catching side indicator surrounds found on the front side panels.
The new Roadster comes with a clean yet classic back manually operated soft-top roof – a design passed on from generation to generation, and now on the compact roadster template. This soft-top roof is robust and is perfect for any season and weather. The roof comes with a classic British roadster style, simple and elegant. When closed, the roof broadens as it cascades downwards, towards its body and underlining highlighting its powerful over-the-wheel stance. Upon opening, the roof flawlessly folds down flat behind the seats, maintaining the car’s elegant sweeping lines and its outer skin faces upward so as not to need more cover.