x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mini adds muscle to car sales in region

The Mini is racking up "Maxi" profits in the UAE

BMW's Mini may be a small car but it is making big profits for the maker in the Middle East.

The vehicle, launched in the UK in 1959, recorded robust sales growth in the first three months of this year, up an average of 81 per cent across eight Middle East markets.

Graham Grieve, the global vice president of importer markets for the car maker, expects to sell a total of 600 Minis this year after selling 210 in the first quarter.

"Mini is a very small car in a big-car region, so it took a while for people to tune into the brand," Mr Grieve said. "At the moment I can't see any limitations on our growth expectations for the car."

Markets that performed well in the first three months of the year included Dubai, with an increase of 178 per cent, Abu Dhabi with 76 per cent growth, Qatar with a 78 per cent expansion and Kuwait with a 54 per cent sales rise.

This year also saw the launch of the Mini Countryman, a five-door 4x4 model.

"It will be about how many cars we can produce rather than customers we can find," said Mr Grieve.

"It's unreal to expect growth at the end of the year of 81 per cent, but I'll be happy with around 30 per cent."

 

rjones@thenational.ae