MINI Australia will be delivered two Countryman PHEVs by the end of September 2017 for testing on the local grounds and as a part of establishing a project charter for its first electric model.
Even so, the Australian market will have to wait for two more years for the plug-in hybrid SUV, which is on sale in Europe, and an even longer wait for the recently announced all-electric MINI Cooper E.
Meanwhile, MINI Australia will continue with expansion of its range by introducing the new Countryman JCW around mid 2017.
MINI Australia restructures it’s model line up:
In the last decade, MINI had expanded its model line up by introducing it’s first SUV- the Countryman. It had also released other models like the Clubman, Roadster and Coupe pair.
However, MINI discontinued with the Roadster and Coupe pair in 2015 because of low sale reports. Mini senior vice president Sebastian Mackensen backed this decision by saying that the Roadster and Coupe pair models were too similar to the other models of the brand and that they were competing more with their own products than with external completion because they were of similar size, similar price range, similar driving opportunity.
After dropping those two car models, MINI Australia decided to expand on their Countryman and Clubman models to distance themselves from the other three cars in body styles and length and overall package also. “So now we have five cars in two different segments of the markets and competing much more with external competition than within the Mini brand.” Said Mackensen.
Countryman to plug-in:MINI Australia general manager Tony Sesto said the Countryman PHEV, which offers a pure-electric driving range of 40km, will be here no sooner than late 2018 or early 2019.
MINI E further away: the pure electric MINI Cooper E will be available after 2020 in Australia while it is confirmed to be in the European markets by 2019. MINI acknowledges that the reaction to Countryman PHEV has been strong but the Australian market still is expected to be slower to embrace it than other parts of the world.
Countryman JCW To expand: The JCW sales account for 10 % of MINI sales locally. This reflects that the Australian market is hungry for performance driven vehicles. The numbers would take as hike on the imminent introduction of Countryman JCW. The automakers do not deny the possibility of a Countryman PHEV JCW.
With new plug-in hybrid, all-electric and even autonomous drive systems it seems 2019 will mark the beginning of a technology rollout for MINI.