Mini planning Volkswagen Golf-sized rival – report – Drive

Mini is reportedly planning to go up against the Volkswagen Golf in the shrinking hatchback market, as SUVs continue to dominate new-car sales in Europe and Australia.
German-owned British car-maker Mini may be looking to expand its model line-up to include a hatchback sized to take on Europe’s most popular new car, the Volkswagen Golf, according to overseas reports.
The Volkswagen Golf has been Europe’s best-selling vehicle for the past 14 consecutive years, although production delays and the rising popularity of SUVs has led to the hatchback topping the continent’s monthly sales charts just twice this year.
According to sales data from JATO Dynamics, SUVs accounted for 46 per cent of the 11.75 million new cars registered in Europe last year  – eight per cent more than their market share in 2019.
In Australia, 473,142 SUVs were sold between January and October 2022 – more than the combined sales of passenger cars (171,423) and light commercial vehicles (215,388).
Speaking to UK magazine Auto Express, Mini boss Stefanie Wurst said the car-maker’s line-up currently lacks a “large and flat” bodystyle – with company insiders reportedly telling the publication a Volkswagen Golf-sized rival could fill the gap.
“We have a small and flat car (Hatch/Cooper), we have a small and high (Aceman) and we have a large and high (Countryman). But we don’t have a large and flat,” Ms Wurst told Auto Express.
“Another body type is feasible. I’m a big fan of analysing different body types.”
While the first-generation Mini Clubman fit the bill as a ‘large and flat’ car when it launched in 2007, its second-generation successor grew to become a longer six-door wagon proportions, placing it outside of the conventional five-door hatchback market.
The petrol and diesel-powered Mini Clubman is reportedly set to be axed after 2023, with the upcoming Mini Aceman electric hatch-turned-SUV emerging as a likely replacement – slotting into the brand’s line-up between the Hatch/Cooper hatchback and Countryman SUV.
Auto Express claims Ms Wurst did not rule out the electric Mini Vision Urbanaut concept from being turned into a production car.
As previously reported, Mini is due to wrap up production of petrol and diesel-powered cars by 2030, instead producing an electric-only model line-up.
Last month, overseas reports claimed Mini will end production of its first-generation electric Hatch in the UK by the end of 2023, with the model’s successor set to be manufactured in China as part of a joint venture with Great Wall Motors.
The upcoming electric Mini Countryman is slated to enter production next year in Leipzig, Germany, while petrol and diesel variants of the next-generation Mini Hatch will continue to be built in Oxford, UK.
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Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.
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Copyright Drive.com.au 2022ABN: 84 116 608 158
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