Despite Mini's woes, Clubman sales surging

Overcoming controversial looks, the Clubman is on pace to be Mini's most popular model in 2016.

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The Mini Clubman has a polarizing design, but those who like it are snapping it up. According to Automotive News, the Clubman is on pace to become Mini USA's best selling model. Almost 1,700 vehicles were sold during the first quarter of 2016, and the vast majority – 1,037 units – were sold last month alone. These facts are made all the more noteworthy because Mini's sales fell 15 percent during the first quarter.

The surging sales of Mini's newest model are especially good news for the brand's coffers. The Clubman is the most expensive non- John Cooper Works model you can get, aside from the upcoming Convertible. It doesn't sound like there are too many Clubman models going for the $24,950 starting price, either. According to Mini Dealer Council Chairman Michael Vadasz, dealers are doing solid business on customized orders, which, he tells AN, "is what Mini is all about." About one in four Minis built today are custom orders submitted by consumers, who love taking advantage of the Porsche-like breadth of a la carte options, no matter what it does to the final price. The fact that Mini is seeing so many custom Clubmans, then, is a very good thing.

As for why the Clubman is doing so well, Mini USA Vice President David Duncan says it's because the car just isn't so Mini, moving the brand beyond its traditional subcompact class to the compact segment, where it can challenge cars like the Audi A3.

"We see that as a fast growing segment, so having an entry in there gives us that opportunity," Duncan told Automotive News. "And then when you look at the car itself, it's got a premiumness about it that really takes us to the next level and allows us to compete against brands that we weren't typically competing against."

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