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MINI to pare down future lineup?

MINI is considering downsizing its four-gen model range.

MINI is thinking small for its future lineup - not in terms of physical size, but in regard to the number of models it will field.

While the BMW-owned brand is planning six or seven models for its third-generation range, which just launched with the redesigned 2014 Hardtop, its fourth-gen roster could be trimmed to just four or five vehicles, BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer revealed to Autocar.

BMW needs to be "sensitive about the number of variants and about size. It is better to go in a different direction to concentrate on doing less but better,” Schwarzenbauer said.

MINI's outgoing second-gen lineup is comprised of seven models - the Hardtop, Clubman, Countryman, Paceman, Convertible, Roadster and Coupe. Rumors have suggested that the Coupe and Roadster will be replaced by a single stand-alone sports car, but the addition of a new five-door Hardtop keep the third-gen's model count similar to what it is now.

For the fourth-gen range, Schwarzenbauer envisions three key models, or "hero cars,” including the Hardtop, Convertible and a crossover sized larger than the current Countryman. Presumably, one or two niche models would be part of the plan as well.

Despite the brand-bending implications of a larger crossover, Schwarzenbauer stressed that each new model would need to stay true to MINI's core qualities.

"Each model must be a hero in its own market and have the trademark personality, style and go-kart handling,” Schwarzenbauer said.

Photo by Nat Shirley.

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