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MINI Paceman To End Production Soon
Buyers wanting to put the eccentric MINI Paceman in their garage will have a shrinking window in which to do so. A new report says that the Paceman's days in production are numbered, that it is set to step aside to help free production space for the next generation BMW 5 Series.
When the Paceman was first unveiled, MINI had high hopes for the funky two-door which was supposed to bring a stylish and strong selling alternative to the more functional Countryman four-door. However, the Paceman proved to be a flop both in sales and its overall performance attributes, which did not meet MINI's expectations year after year. The Paceman is currently built in Graz, Austria, at a BMW factory that is, in turn, operated by Magna Steyer. With the next generation 5 Series slated to be unveiled very soon, the new four-door sedan will need additional production capability to allow it to hit BMW's sales projections. Naturally the choice to axe the Paceman made the most sense, especially since it not only removed a dead weight model out of the firm's global lineup, it also helped resolve the challenge of production capacity. According to Autocar, Paceman production is scheduled to stop before the end of the year.
The Paceman's demise highlights a recent shift in focus for the offbeat British brand; MINI is also axing the MINI Coupe and Roadster due to their slow sales in the automotive market. Though these three models showcased the brand's willingness to embrace offbeat ideas, MINI now aims to focus its efforts on its more mainstream models. For example, the next generation MINI Countryman will be bigger than the current model, which is expected to help attract crossover buyers, especially those that were initially turned off by the current generation and its relatively compact dimensions when compared to more traditional CUV rivals. However, the biggest change that could possibly happen over the next few years is the addition of a four-door sedan model that would be targeted at buyers in the Chinese and U.S. markets where the demand for four-doors is still very strong. While it is currently unknown what the potential offering would be called, various rumors suggest that it could possibly arrive under the Riley nameplate.
It will also be interesting to see if MINI's newfound focus will also address the notoriously high prices of some of its option packages. While a lot of these packages are mostly aesthetic and appeal to buyers looking for a distinct form of style. Other packages bundle key pieces of equipment, and, as a result, command strong figures that can rapidly increase the final cost of whatever MINI they are equipped to. This is a major handicap, especially when MINI offerings are compared to rivals in their respective segments.
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