BMW's board member in charge of Mini, Peter Schwarzenbauer, is reducing the brand’s range to five models -- dropping the slow-selling Roadster, Coupe and Paceman. Schwarzenbauer admits that the move is controversial because it runs counter to the belief that more models mean more volume. The former Porsche and Audi sales boss explained his objectives to Automotive News Europe Correspondent Christiaan Hetzner.
What was the reaction to cutting Mini to five models?
Overall, the auto industry is tending to occupy more and more niches to generate greater volume. Mini is a brand that will prove the opposite can also be effective. I believe it is good for a brand to concentrate on a few strong characters, but we should also be asking ourselves whether steadily increasing volumes is the only way to go. That’s something premium manufacturers in particular need to consider. To get back to your question: Yes, of course, there were some controversial internal discussions prior to the decision. But we now see that other manufacturers are also thinking about reducing the number of models.
What is the advantage of the change?
It is important that the models are clearly defined and our customers know what each model stands for. A wide range of different variants doesn’t make sense. We will concentrate on five core models, which we refer to as “superheroes.” Each superhero has a strong, independent character, which a well-trained salesman can match with a customer after just a brief conversation. By concentrating on a smaller range we can be more focused. I’m quite convinced of this. Now we will prove that this strategy works.