The Mini Paceman, a quirky three-door model that never quite hit its stride, will be axed at the end of this year, according to Autocar. In the same way that most vehicle discontinuations can be spotted well in advance, the Paceman’s lackluster sales and ultra-niche fit didn’t bode well for a production renewal.
Mini’s decision isn’t purely based on lineup refinement — BMW reportedly needs room to produce the next-generation 5 Series, meaning the Paceman weak link must be cut. The redesigned 5 Series sedan will roll out of BMW’s Graz, Austria, plant in 2017, and will take both the Paceman and Countryman’s assembly spots. The second-generation Countryman is due next year, and will be produced elsewhere.
The Paceman hasn’t had a terribly long run since its introduction in 2012, but was likely doomed by the success of the all-too-similar Countryman. It joins the Mini Cooper Coupe and Convertible (you remember those, uh, “special” models don’t you?) as models that failed within the last several years.
Mini is working on five distinct vehicle lines moving forward. The Cooper hatchback, Clubman compact, Cooper Convertible, and Countryman are the current lines, and a compact sedan will likely round out the pack. The latter will be marketed to the North American and Asian markets.
It may be news to many Mini shoppers, but the automaker has a history of making sedans with Riley Elf and Wolseley Hornet. “Customers may know of the strong heritage of the sedan concept, but it was never [sold in] big volumes,” noted Ralph Mahler, Mini’s head of product. It’s expected that the sedan will be based on the Clubman platform, and may help the brand crack half a million in global sales next year.
On the whole, Mini’s new lineup will be far less oddball/underdog than previous generation cars, which will invite new customers but may upset loyalists.