|David Duncan takes over as North American brand head|
• Larger Cooper Hardtop offers choice for growing families
• Marketing push for 2014 Hardtop will "rekindle" excitement from 2002
NEW ORLEANS -- David Duncan, Mini's new North American chief, told dealers how the brand will launch the redesigned Cooper, which is significantly larger than the current car.
Duncan, who has been on the job for less than a month following the retirement of Jim McDowell, wants the launch of the 2014 Cooper Hardtop to "rekindle the excitement" the brand had when it entered the United States in 2002. The Cooper Hardtop is due in spring.
Michael Vadasz, owner of Otto's Mini in suburban Philadelphia, said the larger Cooper was needed. "You can't stay in business with the same product for 25 years."
Duncan said Mini dealers have nothing to fear as other automakers introduce new small cars to their North American lineups. He said Mini has built up a reputation and following among consumers that will keep the brand strong.
Thomas Moorehead, a Mini dealer in Sterling, Va., said the larger Mini will give existing Mini customers a choice to stay with the brand if they have a larger family. "Our customers are growing in terms of family size," Moorehead said. "But instead of bringing their Minis back, they're passing them down to family members, which is good for us because it creates more Mini fans."