OK, let’s say you’re a feisty, optimistic, and engaging car brand known for defying convention. You’re also known for building premium small cars, but when you take a look at the numbers, your best selling models are your smallest coupe and your largest wagon-esque vehicle. Would not the temptation be great to somehow create a hybrid of the two, plant it on your dealer's lots and see how many wind up underneath the butts of your faithful fan base?
Well, to a large extent, MINI has done precisely that with the introduction of the Paceman, a two-door coupe version of the Countryman “SAV” (sports activity vehicle), better known as MINI’s SUV-ish model. The Cooper hardtop, MINI’s bread and butter vehicle since the brand was reintroduced to North America in 2002, accounts for some 29 percent of the brand’s sales. Meanwhile, the Countryman woos some 21 percent of MINI buyers. Surely a cross between the two vehicles will find some traction — yes?
And while it’s perfectly logical to blend your two best sellers in the hopes of creating a third one, MINI’s thing this year is to be seen as ‘not normal”, playing upon the unconventionality of its iconic motorcars. In a time when the rush to assimilation continues unabated, there is definitely room in my heart for different.
Especially if different is also fun to drive.