Mini, because it is owned by BMW, is the kind of automaker that is really into offering options, like nine-different-colors-of-the-base-Convertible level of options, and the colors are more than just different shades of gray. This is the BMW and Mini way, though it sounds like the BMW and Mini way is changing.
At its height, according to the Financial Times, BMW offered 15 trillion different combinations of Mini, and that isn’t a typo. That was in 2017, before BMW was more in on electric as they are now, one factor BMW is citing in saying this week that it planned to reduce the number of options for both brands. They also are doing it, plainly, to make bigger margins.
From the FT:
The Munich-based group, which is targeting a profit margin of between 8 and 10 per cent even as it sells more electric models, needed those factories that made both combustion engine and battery-powered cars to be “highly efficient” to reach that goal, said chief financial officer Nicolas Peter.
“We will especially reduce the number of available combinations, because certain combinations make no sense at all, and are never chosen,” Peter said in Frankfurt on Tuesday.
For BMW, “there’s a potential to go from offering 10 different [rims], which we might have done earlier, to five,” said Peter, gesturing to BMW’s new electric iX model, “without losing a single unit [sale]”.
The small number of customers who choose a particularly niche option would “probably would have bought something else”, if that choice was not available, Peter said, adding that the group would use data from online sales portals when deciding which choices to eliminate.
I had always thought the the options game was almost pure profit from automakers’ perspective, as though it sounds like BMW has reached some outer limits with that. I do like the idea, though, of every Mini out there possibly being a little different from each other, with all those combinations. That can’t be the case, though it’d be great if it was.