Originally Posted by spinzero
I think the big success of the MINI was first and foremost due to its instant desirability. It was certainly important that the driving dynamics backed up all the marketing hype, ("let's motor") but at the end of the day I think people buy it because it's such a cute car that you can paint in so many different ways and put on red leather seats.
I go to the MINI forums and regularly see people dropping over $30K on a loaded MINI. $30K for a 170HP B-segment hot hatch! It sure isn't reasonable, but people do it because a personalized MINI makes a statement like no other sub-$40K car can make.
I personally consider "making a lifestyle statement" an odd reason to buy a car, but if BMW can pull that off with the new 1er, I have no ground to object. That will certainly drive the price up, but then if it fails there may not be any 1er at all in the states, so it's fair in my book.
I think a lot of what you wrote is true, but I might take issue with with the way you weighted the success factors. The marketing of the MINI is innovative, but that's not enough to sell me a car. In the end, I bought my MINI in spite of the cute car thing and entirely because of the driving experience.
I completely agree that purchasing a particiular car to make a lilfestyle statement is IMO a bit questionable. When I was considering selling my M3 to purchase the MINI, I had several people question what type of lifestyle statement that would make. My response then, and now, is that the car I choose to drive should not be construed to mean anything other than: "I like this car." I don't intend to project any message whatsoever. That was true then, and if I get the 1 Coupe, it will be true again. I love the MINI and don't miss the M3 at all. I'm optimistic that a 135i M sport would replace the MINI with the same success, not because it has a great badge but because of how it drives. If it doesn't provide the great drving experience, I won't buy it.
Originally Posted by spinzero
Still, the question is whether this little coupe has the instant desirability like the MINI does. I have been excited about this car for close to two years now, but so far no version of the 1 series has given me the zing that the MINI does. In fact not quite even close. Will the target demographic really bite into the 2002 nostalgia with a car that really doesn't even resemble the original, and probably doesn't drive like it either?
But then again I don't even have an iPod, so I guess I'm just not cool enough to "get it". :biggrin:
EDIT: I'm not bashing the MINI in any way, I am seriously considering getting it over the 1. But I probably won't spend much more than $25K on it.
I guess it's fair to say that there are enough others out there buying cars for image and other reasons that manufacturers are smart to market to them. But I hope BMW uses the 1 series to get back to a pure driving experience. If anything, I think the MINI reinforces the viability of a small car with rewarding driving qualities. Whatever the case, the MINI is not style over substance (and I know that's not what you were saying), and I sincerely hope the 1 coupe isn't either.