While it is only good business for BMW to try to advance the MINI Cooper brand by introducing a new model, will the name/model ‘Clubman’ be a winner or loser?
While BMW has not been bashful in leveraging the historical name of Mini to produce the modern re-incarnation, again, why the Clubman name?? Did they not know that it was, by most historical accounts, a failure by the original Mini manufacturers to update and modernize their design?
The original Mini Clubman was first introduced in 1969. While the Mini Clubman was intended to replace the original ‘round nose’ Mini, the factory decided to hedge it’s bet and keep the original Mini in production along side the new version. For the real Mini lover, the new Mini Clubman was considered an ugly evolution that should never have existed. The original Mini was introduced in 1959 and the Mini Clubman in 1969, it only lasted 10+ years while the original continued for another almost 20 years.
So what does the name ‘Mini Clubman’ really bring to the BMW MINI. You could argue that the name at least is a part of Mini heritage, but is it a winner? Now, I don’t want to hurt the feeling of all classic Mini Clubman owners (as I also still own one!) but let face it- the factory produced almost 5,000,000 classic Minis and only a little more than 275,000 Mini Clubmans.
While the original Mini Clubman was simply a Mini with an extended, squared off front sheet metal, it was just not a Mini. Will the BMW MINI owners look at the new MINI Clubman as an ugly step-sister? It is sure bet that BMW is looking to expand it appeal and not upgrade it. The Mini Clubman will for sure be more considered a family car rather than a sports car! It must be remembered that the original Mini while introduced as a ‘peoples car’ in 1959 was already found in sporting events by the end the end of the same year! While the new BMW MINI Cooper has yet to achieve the same panache of the original as a ‘sports sedan’ first and a ‘family sedan’ second, the BMW MINI Clubman will for sure ONLY be a ‘carry-all’ for the family!
And next a SUV/SAV MINI? Sorry, this is not even a BMW MINI but simply a marketing exercise!