MINI is going head to head with Nissan this autumn as an all new car sector fast hots up.
The small crossover market is one both makers hope will bring big sales gains for them – but the route to entry for both has been rather different.
MINI, of course, stokes the most controversy. This is the biggest MINI ever, the first 5-door, the closest a MINI has ever got to the 4 metre long threshold.
Nissan, though, is coming at it from the other way. It’s enjoyed amazing success with the fine Qashqai family crossover; now it’s bringing similar thinking down to the supermini market.
In the Juke and the Countryman, the two firms meet at last. Yup, it’s the first time a Nissan has ever eyeballed a MINI!
It’s a significant meet in two ways – one, in showing the desire of BMW Group to win extra sales volume for MINI, further strengthening its future. But, two, it is also a measure of how the Nissan brand has come on from its Almera-riddled past.
In recent years, we’ve been obsessed with premium, and questioned what volume makers can do to respond. Nissan’s answer is to do things premium makes can’t – go avant-garde with design, be bold, design smart and affordable cars for head-turning hip in the higher-volume market.
MINI can be bolder than the premium norm but it’s still got heritage to follow. Nissan has none of that.
Bizarre thing is, though, as MINI moves up and Nissan moves down in size, so MINI’s moving mainstream and Nissan’s edging premium. One imitates other, and the result is – well, the perfect twin test meet.
The proof comes this autumn: premium doing mainstream or volume going avant-garde? It would be great to hear some marketing experts offer their view before we journos stick our oar in…
+ What do you think about the MINI Countryman and the Nissan Juke?
+ Do you think the two cars are natural rivals?
+ What’s your opinion on how MINI and Nissan should market them?