Press release BoxID: 133410 (BMW AG)
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Speech of Dr. Kay Segler Senior Vice President Brand Management MINI, BMW AG

MINI Press Conference, 40th Tokyo Motor Show Tokyo, October 24, 2007, 11:50 a.m.

(PresseBox) (München, ) The Tokyo Motor Show is celebrating its 40th anniversary today. And we have good reason to celebrate as well – because the new MINI has been available in Japan for five years now. Since its market launch in 2002, Japan has made an important contribution to the MINI’s global success.

To date, approximately 1.1 million customers all around the world have decided to buy a new MINI – more than 71,000 of them in Japan. By the way: With sales of more than 13,000 units in 2006, Japan is the MINI brand’s most important market in Asia.

The new, second generation MINI has also had a great start. Between January and September 2007, we sold almost 165,000 MINIs worldwide – over 12 percent more than during the same period last year. In September 2007, the brand achieved a retail volume of 31 percent over September 2006 performance. Overall, we expect to deliver more than 220,000 MINI vehicles to customers this year, thus achieving an all-time sales record.

This means: MINI is making more and more fans and friends – all over the world. At present, the new generation of our premium small car can be found on the roads in over 70 countries. So you see, MINI is a real global player.

MINI has an exceptional emotional appeal to people watching or driving it. Our customers adore the unique and sophisticated design, and they love the "go-kart handling". This is exactly why it is so successful. In other words: MINI represents "urban driving excitement" like no other car in its class.

But with MINI, driving pleasure and responsible behaviour are not mutually-exclusive: All new second-generation MINI models offer higher performance with lower fuel consumption. This means that carbon emissions have been reduced substantially for the entire range. Even the flagship models of the MINI line-up are the benchmark in their performance class regarding fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Our strategy is clear: We want to reduce fuel consumption across our entire model portfolio. MINI does not waste time on developing niche models that can be celebrated as eco trendsetters. The new series models of the second MINI generation offer a highly efficient powertrain technology that lowers fuel consumption and thus carbon emissions. We have applied a whole package of measures to reduce fuel consumption. And I can assure you: We have not made any compromises regarding comfort and safety features. Six airbags and five stars in the Euro NCAP test speak for themselves.

This comprehensive product substance will not only keep MINI fans passionate about their favourite car in the future; it also appeals to the rational mind. We are absolutely convinced that MINI will continue its long-term success on an international level in years to come. This is why one element in the BMW Group’s recently adopted strategic realignment is the expansion of production capacities at MINI Plant Oxford to 260,000 units a year in the medium term.

Our confidence is not only based on recent accomplishments, but in particular on our consistent brand portfolio strategy. The latest result of this approach is celebrating its Asian premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show today. It is the new MINI Clubman, a vehicle offering versatility unrivalled in its class. In March of next year, this new MINI will be launched in Japan. Customers will have a choice of two engine variants, the MINI Cooper Clubman and the MINI Cooper S Clubman.

In addition, the MINI family will be complemented by new MINI John Cooper Works models. The performance brand’s racing car, the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE, will roll off the assembly line mid-2008.

And there’s more in the pipeline: As you know, another result of the strategic realignment is the decision for a new MINI model in the segment of Sports Activity Vehicles. But let’s return to the present and the MINI which you can see right next to me – in the shape of the new MINI Clubman. It is a vehicle that will look familiar to most of you – we presented its concept study here at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show.

The Clubman is on the one-hand, typical MINI: the go-kart feeling and design are unmistakable. On the other hand, it is a totally different car: Second-to-none in its class, it is the modern interpretation of a classic "shooting brake" – a car that combines elements of a coupe and a hatchback.

The MINI Clubman has unique doors that you won’t find on any other vehicle. The ‘split door’ at the rear facilitates loading and unloading. And the ‘club door’ on the right makes it easier for rear-seat passengers to enter the car.

Moreover, this MINI is extremely versatile: When you fold down the rear seat, luggage space increases to almost 1,000 litres, despite the fact that this MINI is less than four meters long – definitely still the size of a small car.

To cut a long story short: This is an exceptional car with a variety of new characteristics and features. But most of all, the new MINI Clubman is a true MINI.

Thank you very much for your attention. Enjoy your first impression of this unique car! Make way for the MINI Clubman! The other MINI!