There's no question that the new Mini Cooper is a runaway success for a niche vehicle.
It is a well-conceived, well-engineered product, although the numbers could be a little bigger on the gauges and dials to accommodate the aging baby-boomers who are buying it.
Now, Mini is preparing to launch a convertible version, probably in about a year and a half. Why?
Look at the Volkswagen Beetle, another retro-styled product.
VW is just barely under way with the convertible version of the Beetle, trying to revive its early success. But VW took too long to stretch the niche. Everybody who wanted a new Beetle bought one right away and the market dried up. VW also overestimated demand.
Mini is trying not to make the same mistakes.