Mini prepares for record-breaking sales
Mini Thailand is upbeat that its local deliveries this year will reach a record high for the third straight year amid flat growth in the luxury market.
According to BMW Group Thailand, the luxury car segment increased only 0.6% to 13,449 cars sold during the first half of the year.
For the two major German brands, Mercedes-Benz posted 7,289 cars sold for the period, up 3.1%, while BMW (including Mini) had 5,474 deliveries, down 1.5%.
But Mini alone rose 25% to 430 units sold in the period, said Preecha Ninatkiattikul, general manager of Mini Thailand.
"We are confident of achieving our target because Mini has introduced many new models to stimulate the market and focused on Mini fan communities in Thailand," he said.
Mr Preecha said Mini introduced limited-edition models imported from Britain in the first half and opened bookings through a website.
"The online channel offered 20 models that were all booked within a couple of weeks before the auto showcase in March, when Mini had an additional 170 back orders," Mr Preecha said, adding that the booked vehicles were delivered by June.
"We introduced the Mini Cooper S Countryman Entry, imported from Malaysia, with a price of 1,989,000 baht to stimulate buyers in the second half."
Mini will hold an expo from Aug 30 to Sept 2 to sell models at CentralWorld.
Mr Preecha said another model -- the Mini John Cooper Works -- will be introduced at the year-end auto showcase. This model will be imported from the Netherlands.
Mini's retail sales in Thailand grew by 72% over the last five years. In 2018, Mini cars achieved a high of 1,051 deliveries, up 4%.
BMW Group Manufacturing Thailand used to assemble the Mini Countryman at a Rayong plant, but the brand has been relocated to the assembly line of BMW's partner facility in Malaysia.
Mr Preecha said the Thai-Asean Free Trade Agreement makes Mini's retail price more competitive and attractive for Thai buyers because there is no longer a tax barrier.
The Malaysian facility will capture Southeast Asia's right-hand-drive countries.
Mr Preecha said Mini has also committed to introducing a 100% electric-powered version, as part of BMW's electrified portfolio.
"We are working on this to bring zero-emissions cars to Thailand some time in 2020," he said.
In July, Mini Cooper SE, a fully electric car, was revealed using the BMW i3 power system.
Under BMW's global plan for electrified cars, the BMW iX3 will be introduced in 2020 and then the BMW i4 and iNEXT will be available in 2021.
By 2025, BMW Group will have an electrified product portfolio with at least 25 models, 13 plug-in hybrid cars and 12 battery-powered cars with a projected 15-25% share of total sales.