There is a new battle in automotive industry and it is between small sized SUVs. A decade ago small sized SUV was something totally ridiculous and pointless, one decade ago we were not able to able to do no more than talking from our mobile phone and now we can do nearly everything. Nobody would ever predicted this kind of huge change in mobile phone technology. Like SUV market, nowadays nobody wants to buy an SUV for off road, they just want to buy it because you can park on pavement, no problem while snowing, it is easier to get in and bigger boot.
The definition of car totally changed by the SUVs. They are the iPods of automotive industry, once they appeared nothing remained the same. However SUV trend became more complicated and a bit boring. Any company which is able to assemble four wheels and one engine is offering an SUV. And they are becoming smaller every year, BMW X3 was suppose to be the smallest SUV but now it is a kind of mid-sized model.
When the size reaches Mini, Mini will in business! That’s only car which is big and Mini. Honestly, I don’t like Mini that much. The technology underneath the car is excellent, very cleverly made and very well engineered. But there are some problems like spotting too many, ridiculously high priced, people who are driving them is another issue. The iconic Mini turn into I made money and I wanted to buy something expensive thing, and anyone who has enough money to buy Mini immediately bought one. Mini became a symbol of wealth but this erodes its spirit. Instead of Mini, I would definitely go for Alfa Romeo MiTo or Fiat 500. I know they are not as good as Mini but I don’t want to be labelled by Mini!
Anyway, let’s forget my emotions about Mini and discuss about the huge Mini, Countryman. Today in Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham I spotted this new SUV. But it was fake, partial. Tyres were real and the rest was plastic. They placed lcd screen on windows and showing people. Those people are the ones who recorded their face during the event. I really don’t know the details, I am not that kind of person. This new Mini actually looks better than a normal Mini and probably more convenient than the normal one. It is more spacious, easier to get in, bigger boot, optional four wheel drive. That will be line between poor Mini Countryman owners and rich Countryman owners :) In general a good car which has a huge potential to fail.
Fail? Yes! Mini made a huge success when it was first revealed and sustained it for nearly one decade but as the product range extended the success did not extended that well. The Clubman which is a four door hatchback did not manage to achieve the same sales performance because that’s a big weird car and a bit further away from the Mini concept. Does this stop BMW to extend the range? Of course Nein! As the BMW loves to extend everything to its limits, they introduced the Countryman. Of course many snob people will buy this car and they will defend its character and etc. But Countryman has a very big competitor! This competitors boots as big as a Mini! And it is called Range Rover.
Range Rover Evoque, the new small SUV on market which will be available next year with Range Rover brand! As BMW knew this thing they rushed and introduced the Mini Countryman earlier ;) So they could eat the market before Range Rover arrives. However Mini may not compete with Range Rover like it compete with other small cars. Even though the Mini is a premium brand, Range Rover is the king brand! Unfortunately Mini never made the same impression like Range Rover.
Just, try with someone. Say Mini and say Range Rover and observe the facial differences. Unfortunately Range Rover means luxury, status, heritage and expensive! Mini also means similar thing but in a small scope. People bought Mini, because it was something different, interesting and part of popular cultures. But they buy Range Rover because it is comfortable, good off roader, exquisitely designed. And Range Rover brand is associated with these attributes, therefore it will have an absolute advantage over on Mini Countryman and also on BMW X1. X1 is the small, ugly SUV from BMW.
Mini Countryman will not a be huge failure but it won’t be easy to sell customers when there is an alternative called Range Rover! Objectively consider yourself in that position, you probably wish to own a Range Rover instead of a Mini. The team in Bullring was great, I can say better than the Countryman :)
Mine, Mini, Land Rover