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Mini will cancel the droptop version of the Hardtop after three generations, according to a recent report. The Convertible competes in a shrinking segment of the market, so it’s one of the brand’s slowest-selling nameplates.
Production of the current-generation Convertible (pictured) is scheduled to end in February 2024, Automotive News learned from unnamed supplier sources, and the model will not spawn a direct replacement. Mini hasn’t confirmed the report, but it’s credible because the firm sold only 4,031 units of the Convertible in the United States, one of the largest droptop markets in the world, in 2019, a 25% drop compared to 2018. Global sales totaled 30,426 last year, the publication reported, a not-insignificant 14% drop compared to 2016’s results.
Motorists who want a convertible Mini may not be entirely out of luck. While it doesn’t sound like the head-turning Superleggera Vision concept unveiled in 2014 will reach production, the BMW-owned brand hasn’t given up on the idea of launching a standalone sports car that could arrive as a mid-engined roadster. It would likely be electric, like we previously reported, and it hasn’t been approved for production yet. Mini has more pressing issues to deal with. Global sales fell by 4.1% in 2019 as motorists in all markets flock around crossovers.
As a remedy, executives confirmed they’ve delayed the launch of the next-generation Hardtop, which will again wear a retro-inspired design but rely largely on technology to offer motorists a simpler, cleaner-looking interior. In the meantime, the company is reportedly developing a pair of crossovers that will allow it to plant a stake in key segments of the market. One, which could revive the Paceman name, will arrive as an electric model developed jointly with China-based Great Wall Motors and built locally. Possibly named Traveller, the second will be a more conventional SUV aimed largely at the American market and neatly positioned between BMW’s X1 and X3 in terms of size. It will ride on the German firm’s modular CLAR platform, which underpins cars like the 3 Series.
Expanding the range while investing in new technologies, like electrification and autonomy, requires a huge amount of resources. In turn, these expenditures make the Convertible’s business case even more challenging.
If the report is accurate, the Convertible will stick around for about 3½ more years, so it might receive a handful of updates before it closes its top for the final time. And, while some fans will inevitably be sad to see it go, they can solace themselves knowing it fared much better than the first factory-built topless Mini, which Rover introduced at the 1992 edition of the British Motor Show. German coachbuilder Karmann, of Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia fame, built precisely 1,081 units of the 63-horsepower Mini Cabriolet between 1993 and 1996.