MINI Germany chief Christian Oh, in the Interview

A few years ago, a sales of 100,000 units per year for the MINI brand to the outside of any reasonable range. In the year 2018, the case is radically different, because the BMW subsidiary has long since developed to a provider that can not only record the number of pieces with a lot of other brands. About 370,000 units have been sold around the world by 2017, in Germany, the MINI is nearly 47,000 vehicles sold before the much wider established manufacturers such as Volvo.

What plans BMW has in the next few years, with MINI explains MINI Germany chief Christian Oh in the following Interview. The 12 questions deal with the development of the brand in the last few years, the changes in the model range and the increasing electrification in the next few years.

Mr. Oh, since 2010, you direct the fortunes of the MINI brand in Germany. The MINI brand is still the same as 8 years ago?
Yes and no. Change and modern Inspiration belong to the DNA of the brand, but the core is the same. In 1959, Alec Issigonis designed the original Mini on the Basis of the credo, which until today consisted of: “Creative use of space”. MINI is not just a car, but also a way of life. Since the market launch in 2000, this Central idea leads us. We are convinced that you must convert a brand to stay relevant. It also looks at the way we are as a brand. Since I took over in 2010, this Job, the MINI became more varied and adult, but the fun is still the focus. Of Performance with the sub-brand John Cooper Works, over a off-road with ALL4 up to electric mobility and to our brand themes such as MINI-LIVING, and MINI FASHION we can prove many fields.

Let’s look back only to the last year. MINI was again recorded a record year – nearly 47,000 MINIs were sold in 2017 in Germany.
We have five current and strong models in the market. Together, they form an attractive Portfolio for a wide variety of people relevant. Alone in 2017, we have received over five awards and Awards such as the value of master, the Best Cars Award auto motor and sport in the category of the importer class, or the Auto Trophy of Auto Zeitung that distinguish our products. With the MINI Clubman and Countryman, we are also in the compact car segment. This allows many MINI Fans to stay longer with the brand, for example, when children take up space and spaciousness and functionality as the main needs in the forefront. Also for Company fleets, the two models are increasingly attractive. A third of MINI sales in Germany, meanwhile, beyond the small car segment.

A rise in sales – and in doing so, you have two models that are less in supply than in the past.
We have the right to not quickly realized, that fewer models mean fewer customers. On the contrary, We have more MINI convertibles together to sell today than in the past, MINI convertible and MINI Roadster. This is partly due to the strong product substance of the latest convertibles, but of course, the fact that we can position the model separating sharper and more focused. Each of the five models has its own character and its life-world – but all of them belong very clearly to the MINI family.

The MINI Marketing has always been the call to make a little Budget a lot of. Could you be up to this reputation once again in 2017?
The MINI John Cooper Works campaign was very well received. We have transported the sporty appeal of the MINI from the past to the present. For the campaign Film, we have even won a film award of Euro best. And our Facebook Chatbot is a strong claim: the average User has about four minutes. In the summer, we have launched an emotional and benefit-oriented campaign for the MINI Clubman, introduced for the first Time the family as a target group in the centre. In the social networks, we are able to be very good to make together with our Fans of the MINI brand. All the Community-Event #mini thrills went here at the race track Bilster Berg, the thousands of MINI lovers from afar.

Strong products and good advertising are one thing, but their responsibility is above all the distribution. How were you able to meet the ambitious goals and the result of the last year, again surpassing?
We are nearly 47,000 vehicles sold, a six percent year-on-year. We see an important success factor in the optimal nexus of trade, product management, and Marketing. The MINI One Blackyard Edition is a good example of this: The trade has indicated to us that we need a entry-level variant for young MINI Fans who want to come to the mark. Our national product management has created an offer that has positioned the Marketing in the media properly. In addition to a very strong Online and Social Media communication we have here as a first-mover in the Edgar-used stelae, it was the spring in many of the Hotspots of the major German cities, that is. for the first Time, there are moving-picture advertising in bars and pubs. With us, everything is interconnected. At the end of force and rapid Response are an extraordinary achievement and a Testament to our impact. Also interesting: The communication to the new entry-level models has helped us overall, not just the advertised entry-level models.

As the current sales crisis of the diesel engine in the MINI?
MINI is an urban brand, the car mainly in the small-Segment is represented. Our Motorenmix is designed, therefore, traditionally strong in gasoline engines. Therefore, the tentative purchase hits us behavior in the Diesel.

The MINI brand is also a lot of traders popular. Have recognized the trader the Potential of the brand?
For many retailers, the sales of the brand, MINI has become a side business to a profitable money-maker. This is important, only with strong partners in sales, we can be successful. I have to admit, we do not require a lot of trading, it is always easy for our partners. From a certain size up we ask, for example, a designated MINI brand Manager and a MINI-seller, the MINI not only by the way to the BMW business. But traders also note that you can sell with a professional and from the BMW brand has a detached MINI-business cars, and good margins. The MINI brand is a very emotional brand. As we, our dealers and our sellers love the MINI brand. This is the key to cooperation and success.

On what the trade can be set in the future?
The trade remains the Central face to the customer. That is to say things that move the brand, must also take place at the dealer. Last year, we presented at the IAA in Frankfurt, the pure electric MINI Electric Concept. This year, we have sold all of the MINI Plug-In-Hybrid, we were able to get on the production side. The topic of electric mobility will also take place at the MINI-dealers. We would like all merchants, pillars of customer load, but also non-customers. Thus, the classic trade may change in the future, more and more Mobilit├Ątshub. Overall, we want to make our easy-to-use and accessible.

What does that mean?
We are in a Transition from older, classic automotive customers to younger generations, who are used to order Services online and pay for it. Our new Aftersales offers, such as MINI Inclusive to these changing consumption patterns of the younger Generation. Flat-Rate benefits know of Netflix or Spotify. So that we can bind customers to the brand and to the trade.

You have already mentioned a couple of Times: the MINI is now also electrically?
Actually, we have started in 2008 with the MINI E test fleet. Electric mobility fits perfectly to the urban MINI brand.

The car manufacturers will not be accused of not doing enough for the urban mobility. MINI is not a predestined brand, to address the Problem?
In our talk series “The Sooner Now” deal us with these questions. The MINI Credo, “Creative Use of Space” is also excellent on issues of urban life: how can and How we want to live in the future in our cities? How the cities solved the Problem of narrowing the living space? How can engage the inhabitants and professional groups? Recently, under the name MINI Living was presented in a planned residential complex in Shanghai. With the dialog series “The Sooner Now”, we were in 2016 and 2017 in six major German cities to guest and local speakers were able to win, we want to inspire and discourse stimulate the fits individually to the challenges and opportunities of the urban life of our regions in Germany. With the 2019’s upcoming all-electric MINI we offer an attractive automobile for the Metropolitan areas, is locally emission-free on-the-go. And when it comes to car sharing MINI is strongly represented. About 60% of the German DriveNow fleet cars are MINI.

What goals have you set for the brand – in the short term and in the long term?
We differentiate ourselves through our history and our racing genes from the competition. Therefore, I think the return on the Performance of the sector with our sub-brand John Cooper Works Potential. In addition, a good Start in the fiercely competitive compact-car segment with the MINI Clubman and the Countryman is a success. We now have in addition to the emotional arguments more rational buying criteria we can use. It’s great for the brand Fans, because we respond to their growing needs and less compromises require. Also on the subject of cars, I see further Potential. Only in the last year, we launched our used car program is MINI Next. I’m sure we will reap 2018, the fruits of this work. We start in the new year with a well-positioned product range and a very interesting MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid. I am confident that we will exceed the volumes in 2017.


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