The onslaught of auto manufacturers turning their saloons, estates, hatchbacks and coupes with poor sales performances into high-riding crossovers and SUVs continues with a report this week that the next generation Mini Clubman could be next.
Mini’s chief designer Oliver Heilmer hinted in an interview with Autocar, “that the next Clubman could move towards an SUV format”. But why? In a word, sales. Looking at Mini’s sales figures over the past decade, it’s apparent that they weren’t shattering sales records and so to keep its market edge it needs a sales catalyst. Repositioning one or more of its models might be the answer.
Given that the Countryman and Clubman are roughly the same size and price, we reckon the brand will have to restrategise and upsize the Clubman into an SUV, or perhaps even overhaul both models in a bid to further differentiate them in the market place.
Heilmer also spoke briefly about architectural design and space efficiency. “I want each model to be the smallest in in the segment, or visually the smallest. But small may not be helpful for sales” – hinting at the possibility of a larger Clubman.
The chief designer also hinted that his creative team might be reconsidering the Mini’s “iconic features” by saying “The face recognition is very important, but the tail-lights may not stay iconic. We’ve got to be proactive, not reactive.”