Mini Coupe aims to revive 2-seater sales
Editor's note: The Mini Cooper Coupe is built off the brand's convertible chassis. Also, the Cooper S performance model can generate 208 hp. An earlier version of this story misstated those facts.
The new Mini Cooper Coupe due in dealer showrooms in October enters a segment that has declined in the past two years: two seaters. But Mini USA says the Coupe will be a halo car that will bring sporty-minded shoppers to the brand.
The two-seat Coupe is one of three new body styles Mini USA will add in the next 12 months.
The additions will take Mini's portfolio to seven models by next fall. In five years the brand expects to have 10 body styles, says Vinnie Kung, Mini product manager.
The Coupe is built off the brand's convertible chassis, but has a smaller and sportier top. The base-model Cooper Coupe has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 121 hp. The car will sell for $22,000, including freight.
Next spring Mini will add a 2012 Roadster based on the Coupe, followed in the fall by the Paceman, a 2013 model that will debut at the Detroit auto show in January. The Paceman is a three-door variant of Mini's five-door Countryman model.
Tom Salkowsky, brand marketing manager, acknowledges that the two-seat coupe market has declined. But he says the new Mini offering will sell on its own merits.
"We've seen the two-seater segment go from selling more than 50,000 a year to selling fewer than 10,000," he says. "But we believe this coupe will single-handedly bring new interest to the segment."
The Coupe also comes as a Cooper S model that starts at $25,300 and a performance-equipped turbocharged John Cooper Works model, reaching 208 hp, that starts at $31,900. Both prices include freight.
Mini anticipates that the high-end version of the Coupe will pit it against such upmarket coupes as the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster.
You can reach Lindsay Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.