Why Mini is expecting big things in the future

Mini's John Cooper Works Concept unveiled Monday at the 2014 Detroit auto show.
UPDATED: 1/13/14 9:37 pm ET

Mini is a small car with a bright future, Peter Schwarzenbauer, member of the board of management of BMW AG, told reporters who gathered for the unveiling of the Mini John Cooper Works Concept car Monday.

Without giving a 2014 sales projection for the Mini brand, Schwarzenbauer said the company expects the overall U.S. auto market to grow about 5 percent in 2014 and for Mini sales to grow along with it.

Mini's U.S. sales edged up 1 percent in 2013 to 66,502 units.

Schwarzenbauer says more and more people live in big cities, making Mini the perfect car for those dwellers.

"We sold about 66,000 units last year," Schwarzenbauer said. "We are very ambitious. We don't want to grow below the market."

The concept vehicle, which debuted at the Detroit auto show, is an indication of the next-generation John Cooper Works, the company says. The concept featured gray body paintwork, accented in red, and a roof spoiler.

Worldwide, the Cooper Works is offered with gasoline and diesel engines.

Bringing a diesel to the United States is likely, "but not decided yet," Schwarzenbauer said. "Diesel is picking up quite a bit in the U.S."

He said the sports model will go on sale this summer and the "U.S. dollar price is not available yet."

You can reach Arlena Sawyers at asawyers@crain.com

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