Mini boosts marketing budget 30%
ORLANDO -- The 60 or so dealers at the first Mini make meeting held at a National Automobile Dealers Association convention were told to expect a bigger marketing budget this year and a redesigned Cooper hardtop next year.
Mini held a make meeting because "we are a fully mature franchise now," with 115 stores in the United States, said Jim McDowell, vice president of Mini USA who ran the meeting with BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch and other key executives. The Mini franchise debuted in the United States in 2002.
Dealers were shown the new Cooper hardtop last week in Helsinki, Finland, at an event for the new Paceman.
The Paceman, a coupe version of the Countryman crossover, is Mini's seventh model. It will go on sale in the United States on March 16, McDowell said. It is the only new Mini being launched in 2013.
He told dealers the brand will set a U.S. sales record in 2013, topping last year's 66,123 vehicles. Mini sales grew 15 percent in 2012. The Paceman will contribute to the growth, but it will be a halo vehicle rather than a volume vehicle.
"It will not be in our top three volume products," McDowell said.
Mini also told dealers it will spend 30 percent more on marketing this year compared with 2012, said Paul Brown, owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Mini in Indianapolis. "We were told the marketing will be broad-based."
McDowell did not disclose Mini's marketing spend but said "it is the biggest year-on-year increase we have had."
Mini will begin building cars at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands in the second half of 2014. McDowell said the models haven't been announced.
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