Mini is considering an increase in the size of the Clubman for its next generation, turning it into an SUV. The shift towards SUVs globally, has triggered a steep decline in hatchback and sedan sales, necessitating a dealer retrenchment.
In the US, Mini is losing sales because it has only one SUV – the Countryman – which many Americans perceive to be too small to justify its purchase price. In a conversation with our sister publication, Autocar UK, chief designer Oliver Heilmer hinted that the next Clubman could move towards an SUV format. Currently, at 4.25m long and 1.80m wide, the six-door estate is only slightly shorter (46mm) and narrower (22mm) than its Countryman sibling; both occupy the same market pricing level.
At this stage, it’s unclear whether the Clubman will become substantially bigger or whether the latter will grow even larger, to provide two SUVs of distinctly different sizes.
The current-gen Clubman was launched in the Indian market in 2016 as a solitary Cooper S variant. It is powered by a 192hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol motor paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, currently priced at Rs 41.20 lakh (ex-showroom, pan-India). In our review of the Clubman, the car impressed us with its practicality, fun-to-drive nature and retro charm.
In related news, Heilmer refused to comment on Autocar UK’s report on the return of the Traveller moniker as an electric MPV that shares its parts with the BMW i3.