BMW was one of the few manufacturers that openly welcomed the electrification of its models earlier this year as sales of EV models went up by 50 percent. It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear the German auto brand is planning to debut an all-electric Mini concept which will replace the Mini Cooper in America.
According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, one of the board members for the company, the company is currently in talks with other manufacturers to find ways to cut on costs for the electrification of its mini brand line-up going forward.
BMW Reacts to Sales Drop
The move by BMW is probably due to the sales trends. The revenue from Mini sales in America in October went down by 10 percent to 38,456 units according to the data center for automotive sales. Smart sales also decreased by 38 percent to 2,775 units during the same period. Apparently, it is only in the United States that BMW is facing these issues hence the change up to an electric line-up in all probability.
The way or Mini in America is clearly to rebrand itself in the direction of the electric urban mobility initiative as opposed to coming to with bigger SUV’s. At the present, the company only builds Mini’s at the main plant in Oxford, England, and VDL in the Netherlands.
BMW is apparently not alone in the decision to change its line-up to entirely EV for Mini’s. As stated before the smart sales have also slumped during the same period. In response, to this manufacturing rival, Daimler has opted to also convert the Smart Mini-car brand in the United States to an electric-only line-up.
This is because demand is clearly shifting from the smaller cars to SUV’s and trucks. That means the move by both BMW and Daimler is a last-ditch attempt at grabbing the attention of the market considering the EVs are the way of the future with several brands already considering self-driving options for their models. Speaking of which, even BMW has its horse in the autonomous driving race and it will debut in 2021 as the iNext.
Troubled Waters Ahead
One of the greatest problems the brand has faced when trying to electrify he Mini sub-brand in the past was the limited range which would be gotten from a single charge. The ‘Mini’ nature of the car has been one of the major selling points though it is also a big weakness especially when trying to fit the current battery technology in such a small footprint.
If BMW is trying to appeal to the broader audience in America then it will probably need to increase its range by researching into better battery technology or finding other solutions to increase range. This is considering the Mini range has been described as fine but not outstanding. The company has mentioned that the ideal market for the audience lives in an urban setting and utilizes the vehicle for daily driving.
In the event that BMW adequately price the electric Mini, then it could a welcome addition to the line-up of smaller urban commuters that have been sold within the United States. On the other hand, being able to compete outside of markets with dense charging networks would be hard especially if the manufacturer is not able to improve the limited range.