Mini’s flagship model in the U.S. will be the redesigned 2016 Clubman wagon due to its bigger size and additional premium features, according to David Duncan, vice president of Mini of the Americas. The new Clubman was recently presented in Germany. In the U.S., sales will begin this January. Mini will target a bigger customer base for the Clubman.
Duncan shared that the Clubman kicks off the brand’s new tonality and look. He said that this model will have a “premium nature” that may be used by someone like a junior executive for the daily commute. Mini has decided to reduce its lineup from its usual eight down to five models. Aside from the Clubman, this lineup will also include the Cooper hatchback and Countryman crossover.
Mini will remove the Paceman, coupe and roadster. The automaker has yet to announce what model will be added. However, we may expect the list to include the Superleggera two-seat sports car, which had already appeared as a concept. Compared to the predecessor, this new Clubman is longer by 12.4 inches and wider by 4.6 inches.
Its doors are now conventional as Mini had decided to drop the quirky design. Five passengers can be accommodated inside the car. Due to the bigger size, the Clubman will be considered as a compact. It will be the first car from Mini in this segment. Because of its size, the Clubman can be pegged as a premium compact.
This puts it at a different class from smaller volume-brand vehicles like the Fiat 500 and Nissan Juke. The existing Clubman had its launch in 2007 but its production ended in June 2014. Duncan said that it’s likely for Clubman sales to go up with the launch of the redesigned model. However, he didn’t provide specific targets.
In 2014, Clubman sales reached 5,155 units. In 2013, Mini sold 2,613 units. Duncan also said that the Clubman will feature its own interior for the first time. Currently, interior layout and features are shared by Mini cars. The redesigned Clubman model was created on a BMW Group platform that resulted to 2-series wagons that won’t be available in the U.S.
This new platform was also used on the redesigned three-door Cooper hardtop, which made its debut in 2013, and the four-door Cooper that became available in 2014. Duncan said that it may have the same name as its predecessor but it is “truly a new car.” It is a car that’s more premium and that will be the biggest car in its lineup.
The 2016 Clubman is 168.3 inches long, 56.7 inches tall and 70.9 inches wide. Compared to the Countryman crossover (Mini’s largest vehicle for now), the Clubman is 6.6 inches longer and 0.5 inch wider. This crossover still uses the old Mini platform. The prices for the new Clubman will be revealed this September.
The 2014 Clubman was priced from $22,195 (including shipping costs). Duncan is confident that it will set a new sales record in the U.S. even without the Clubman in its lineup this year. He stated that there’s a “very good chance” of Mini getting a “very good year.” From the start of the year through May, Mini sales increased by 28% to 24,086 units. In 2014, Mini reported U.S. sales of 56,112 cars – lower than its record-breaking sales of 66,502 cars in 2013.
Furthermore, Mini revealed a new car-sharing program that will be available as an option for owners and “for a defined circle of family and friends.” He said that this program will be launched in the U.S. in 2016. He declined to provide any details, saying only that it is still “being put together.” Mini owners can make their vehicles available to the DriveNow car-sharing program of the BMW Group.