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Thursday, November 27, 2014

MINI Coupe and Roadster Reach End of the Line




mini cooper roadster photo

A number of years ago, MINI began diversifying its portfolio with the larger Clubman, Countryman, Paceman, as well as the sporty Coupe and Roadster. Now it appears that aggressive expansion will be curtailed, as the latter duo cease to exist in the immediate future. “The Coupe and the Roadster will actually go out of production next year,” confirms Patrick McKenna, MINI USA’s product planning manager, said to AutoGuide at the recent LA Auto Show. “They’ve run their life cycle.”

Both vehicles experienced a fair bit of criticism due to their similarities to the hardtop and convertible MINI Cooper models, as well as shared interior and powertrain options at a higher cost.

mini cooper coupe ending photo

The product change comes at a time when the MINI brand is feeling the weight of sluggish US and global vehicle sales. While parent company BMW’s annual North American sales jumped 12 percent in October to 267,193 units, the MINI brand slid a steep 19.6 percent year to date with only 44,488 sales.

McKenna goes on to note that the move is part of the brand’s new overarching “superhero strategy,” which shifts the focus from tapping into these historically lower volume segments in order to spur the automaker’s core higher volume models. While it would be a welcome addition to the family, the move casts doubt on the rumored limited-run MINI Superleggera Vision drop-top.