I must say that I’ve noticed people talking about the new Mini Cooper, which you can buy right this second. Or, well, within about 3,000 seconds.
It’s an interesting attempt, but I hold some of the same reservations against the Mini as I do against the PT Cruiser. For one Americans, on balance, want bigger cars. No matter how well-designed and packaged a small car is, the perception is, “Gee, that is small.” There is a continued illusion that bigger cars (SUVs) are safer and thus, if your car is bigger, you win. I won’t launch into the usual “small v. big car” debates this time out.
In addition, the idea of a premium small car is very new to America, and the Mini has that entire history against it. While economy cars nowadays have items such as power windows and other goodies standard, they’ve also gotten slightly more expensive as a result – but they’re not positioned as premium cars. The Mini is, and the price reflects that.
I checked out the Flash-happy site for the car, and they aren’t cheap: I loaded one up for $25,500. A base model will still run about $18,000. $18,000 is below the average price for a new car, but mind you that the Mini is… well, mini. It’s really small. Really, really small.
Will it sell? Sure. Will it be popular in a few years? That’s hard to tell. Will it usurp SUVs? I hold a little bit of hope. -pm
Posted in Cars