If Mini dealers were looking for BMW to recommit to their brand staying in the U.S. at last week's make meeting during the NADA Show, they got it.
Dealers heard the brand's plans to expand its U.S. lineup with products more relevant to the market. Mini officials also promised to increase availability in 2021 of a surprise hit: the Mini E. The subcompact hatchback that sells in the mid-$20,000s after federal and state incentives sold unexpectedly well last year, despite having only a 110-mile range and being available on an order-only basis. Mini plans to roughly double production of the small electric hatchback this year for the U.S.
Dealers also asked Mini for more of another value-priced model, the Oxford Edition, which bundles popular options in an entry-level three- cylinder hatchback that starts at $20,600, including shipping.
Mike Peyton, vice president of Mini of the Americas, said the brand's plans to roll out a digital retailing platform in the next few weeks were detailed at the meeting.
"Particularly for Mini and some of our customers, we've got a solution we'll put in place at the end of this quarter. We have been working with [Mini] Financial Services, our captive finance arm, to have a complete commerce solution," he said.
Sales, which sank 22 percent last year to 28,138, are expected to start growing this year, dealers were told.
"The premium segment is up about 9 percent, and we expect to be above that," Peyton said. "When you look at increasing Mini Electric and the new three- and five-door hatchbacks coming in March and April, those are really nice products that will give us a nice stimulus this year."