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GM Takes Aim at VW, Hyundai With New Opel Onix

5-door critical to Brazilian market effort.

by on Oct.22, 2012

The Opel Onix debuts at the Sao Paulo auto show.

While the spotlight may be focused on China, these days, automakers like General Motors know there’s another emerging market that is one of the industry’s prime battlegrounds.

And for General Motors, once the market leader in Brazil, increasing competition means some new products are desperately needed – like the Opel Onix making its debut at the Sao Paulo auto show.

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A close cousin to Chevrolet’s new Sonic subcompact, the 5-door Onix will target one of the fastest-growing segments in what is now the world’s third-largest national automotive market, after the U.S. and China.

“Onix is arriving at a unique moment for Chevrolet in Brazil, a country that is open for business and poised for growth,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson during a preview of the new Opel Onix the night before the official opening of the annual auto show.

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The Ad Sky Limitless for Mini Open

From billboards to the Mini Open-ometer.

by on Feb.17, 2009

2010 Mini Open makes smashing Detroit debut

2010 Mini Open makes "smashing" Detroit debut.

Mini dealers around the country will be open for open business in a few weeks with the new 2009 Mini convertible. The iconic Brit Brand, now a part of Germany’s BMW Group, has, in a few short years, arguably become the most unique brand in the world.

This reputation, in part, has been due to the inimitable, quirky, idiosyncratic and different approach to its advertising. Like all good advertising, should, but seldom does, it starts with the product. Mini’s ad pro-grams have faithfully followed this axiom and continue it unabated, even with a change in ad agencies a few years ago.

From the get-go nothing has been sacrosanct, even the most sacred cows of advertising. A comprehensive retrospective of some outstanding elements of Mini’s quirky and odd, but effective advertising is on the web.

It’s important to note, I’ve been a fan of Mini’s advertising since day one. Happily, the new convertible is no exception, in fact it adds to the Mini’s distinctive image of individuality and personality.

The hype began at the Detroit Show when the new Mini convertible was driven through faux ice to startle the assembled auto journalists.

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First Drive: Mini Convertible

Always Open

by on Jan.30, 2009

Mini Convertible - dashing through the snow

Mini Convertible - dashing through the snow

You think it’s cold back in the U.S.? Try Kärnten, one of the most beautiful parts of the south of Austria. And at this altitude, this time of year, well, you’d think we might have enough common sense to keep the top closed on the new Mini Convertible. Think again. We just couldn’t imagine being the only ones driving back, at the end of the day and have to admit we didn’t get a good whiff of fresh mountain air.

But, to be honest, there’s something about the new Mini cabriolet that would have made us pull the top down, even if no one else was around; maybe that’s why the marketing gurus have hit the right note with their new slogan, Always Open.

Since the introduction of the new Mini, in 2002, some 164,000 convertibles have been sold and the new models are likely to match that success considering some of the new features the British automaker has added. Like the ability to open the soft top in just 15 seconds – and operate it even while driving at up to 20 mph. Another plus is that with the top neatly folded behind the rear seats, there’s now 4.4 cubic feet of cargo space, 0.17 cf more than before.

(With the top up, the luggage space increases to 6 cubic feet, while with the seats folded the Mini Convertible has 23.3 cf of luggage space. To keep burglars out, the split and foldable back rests of the rear seats can be locked with the car’s key.)

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Mini: Plus One

Going up in a down market.

by on Jan.29, 2009

Mini Opens up new opportunities in a down market.

Mini Opens up new opportunities in a down market.

“It is hard to forecast sales for 2009, but we want to sell the same number as in 2008…. plus one,” said Dr.Wolfgang Armbrecht, senior vice-president brand management Mini, BMW AG.

During the past year, Mini has done very well, up 4.3 per cent to total sales of 232,000 units worldwide, making Mini the fastest growing premium brand in the market. If that’s not impressive enough, consider 54,000 of those were sold in the US – and in a market where virtually everyone posted double-digit declines, last year, that meant an improvement of no less than 28.6 per cent compared to 2007.

So how do you hold your ground in a market like this? If Mini is right, you go with products like the convertible Mini Cooper and Cooper S, and aim for a target of 233,000, this year. But there’s more coming, like the Mini One, with its 75 hp engine which, unfortunately, you American drivers won’t be getting, at least not any time soon.

In fact, that pint-sized engine – a downsized version of the small Mini 95-hp I-4 – was really developed for the Italian market, where people just getting a licence cannot drive in cars with more than 75 hp. But with growing interest in ultra-mileage powertrains, Mini has decided to make the smaller engine available for other selected markets in Europe, while the possibilities to use it in the Clubman One is under investigation.

The new base model will hit the streets on April 1, just after the worldwide market launch of the open top Cooper and Cooper S, and the Clubman One. So far, the price of the 75 hp Mini has only been announced for the German market. With a price tag of 15,200 euro, Mini hopes to attract a new group of young buyers.

For the 50th anniversary of the Mini brand, which will be celebrated on the Silverstone race track in the United Kingdom, we may expect a special version, possibly of the John Cooper Works.

Stay tuned, tomorrow, for Henny’s report on driving the new Mini Cooper Convertible! It’ll be available, exclusively here on TheDetroitBureau.com