In 2015, as the new MINI Clubman zipped into the line of vision of automotive enthusiasts, a new chapter began for a brand that has mastered the art of reinvention over the course of more than 50 years.
The new MINI Clubman not only carved out a new vehicle class for MINI, the new premium-compact segment, but also marked the launch of the brand‘s new visual identity, representative of a sophisticated power-player and lifestyle marque.
The new visual identity captures the essence of the brand‘s top-class product experience, emotional design and spirited, humorous and authentic personality through a fresh two-dimensional logo, new typography and tonality.
Since the unveiling of its new identity and the launch of the MINI Clubman, MINI has emerged as a symbol of innovation, and the preferred choice of the creative class – the group of highly educated, super-creative, innovative, boundary-pushing, individualistic, open and diverse members of society.
It has allowed MINI to co-create in diverse creative spaces such as fashion; earlier this year, the brand unveiled the MINI FLUID FASHION capsule collection – a limited edition range of sweatshirts developed with five young, innovative labels – at the 90th Pitti Uomo in Florence.
It has been an exciting journey for the brand, which coasted into the collective consciousness in 1959, priced at just GBP 496, as the small-sized, fiercely individualistic outsider in a landscape of family-oriented cars. Designed as a solution to counter the fuel rationing brought on by the Suez Crisis in the 50s, Mini was seen as a small and more economical alternative to gas-guzzlers. British Motor Corporation (BMC) enlisted the help of designer Sir Alex Issigonis, who came up with a two-door, four-cylinder engine car, featuring front-wheel-drive, a monocoque shell, incredibly compact dimensions, and yet still with 80% of its floorpan useable for passengers and luggage.
Launching in 1959, the car was manufactured by two BMC brands, Austin and Morris, and released to dealers as the Austin Seven and the Morris Mini Minor. This would be the arrangement until 1969, with almost-identical sets of vehicles from both companies, until BMC relented to the public, simply calling the car a Mini, establishing this as a brand in its own right.
Mini’s racing career kickstarted thanks to its association with racing legend John Cooper. Realising that the car’s attributes, such as its transverse engine, small size and wide stance, were the perfect recipe for a race car, John Cooper tinkered with the iconic car and developed it into the track-ready Mini Cooper.
With a powerful 848cc engine and uprated brakes, the little car was transformed into a speed demon that thrilled rally drivers as much as it excited the general public. The Cooper S was launched in 1963 with an even more powerful 1,071cc engine.
The Cooper S’ iconic appeal as a sportier version of the Mini was underlined by its success at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. Fast forward to today and the MINI has continued to grow its racing credentials, featuring heavily in a number of motorsport events, including the Dakar Rally and World Rally Championships.
Production on the original Mini, in all of its shapes and forms, continued until 2000 – an impressive run of 41 years. In that time, it became the best-selling British car ever, with 5.3 million sold worldwide.
In 2009, as it turned 50, MINI celebrated not only its heritage but also its dynamism, with the release of two limited edition models, the MINI 50 Mayfair and the MINI 50 Camden.
The presence of the two commemorative models was indicative of the rising prominence of the brand in the Middle East with year-on-year growth in sales. In 2011, the MINI achieved two major milestones in the Middle East – its strongest ever growth (77%) since the brand was launched in the region and the debut of the MINI Countryman, the first ever MINI model with four doors, giving MINI fans around the region plenty to celebrate.
The global debut of the Countryman took the MINI brand off-road and launched its four-door crossover SUV. The design offers the original MINI Cooper’s agility with increased space, capabilities, safety and quality. Features include a jacked-up suspension for a higher ride height giving a perfect view of the road and exceptional ground clearance.
A multi-terrain vehicle can luxuriously transport five people with safety features including advance braking and brilliant lights in addition to space for bikes, buggies and more. One of the most intuitive and stylish models from the MINI fold and representing a new generation of MINI users, it was particularly successful in the Middle East that year with double-digit growth across the region. It continues to be a key growth driver for the MINI brand today, consistently featuring amongst the top three best-selling models across the Middle East.
Carrying forward the racing legacy of the original Mini Cooper, the John Cooper Works sub-brand is an exclusive and high-performing model for those craving speed and performance. With top-of-the-range power, speed and acceleration, trim options and added extras, it is a greatly-enhanced version of the original. In 2012, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman debuted in the region, accelerating MINI’s growth in the region into an automotive and cultural phenomenon.
The 2015 all-new MINI John Cooper works Hatch was one of the highlights of the 2015 Qatar Motor Show and packs the most powerful engine ever for a production MINI – a 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo engine delivering 231 hp and 320 Nm of torque. Compared with the previous MINI John Cooper Works, the new model delivers 10 per cent more power and 23 per cent more torque. As a result, it reaches 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the older model and comes with upgraded suspension, steering, brakes and styling. At present, the region is one of the best-performing markets for sales of the MINI John Cooper Works models in the world.
MINI’s grand reign as the ‘biggest small car“ continues to this day with four core models with strong characters – the MINI Hatch 3-Door, MINI Hatch 5-Door, MINI Countryman, MINI Clubman and the MINI Convertible – in addition to the high-performing John Cooper Works models. The world’s only premium convertible in the small car segment, the all-new MINI Convertible, is the most recent addition to the MINI stable. It offers an added lift in sporty flair as well as automatic air conditioning, rain warning function, cutting edge drive and suspension technology for more stability and a stronger body structure for more open-air driving pleasure.
MINI inspired change when it entered the marked over 50 years ago and in the next 100 years, it aims to embody a totally new form of shared mobility – intelligent, emotional and sustainable. The journey continues for MINI, as it crafts a new MINI lifestyle and sparks the imagination of a new generation of dreamers and achievers, visionaries and creatives.