New Mini comes with unusual pricing strategy

New 2019 Mini Oxford Edition — Mini USA handout via AFP-Relaxnews
New 2019 Mini Oxford Edition — Mini USA handout via AFP-Relaxnews

LONDON, Sept 6 — Mini has just announced a brand new entry level trim for its 2019 Hardtop model that’s unashamedly aimed at a youthful audience. The new Oxford Edition will be the most affordable version of the Mini available to buyers in the United States, which all sounds very good. However, there is a catch, and the catch is that to be allowed to buy one, buyers will either have to be in college or have recently graduated from college.

It’s not unusual for some products to be designed, marketed and priced specifically at young buyers and students. Computer software often comes in very affordable versions for students and teachers, and in various parts of the world there are government-backed schemes to help the young buy their first home. In the US there are already lots of discount schemes to make buying a new vehicle more affordable for military veterans, but they’re not like this offer because they are regular vehicles that can be bought at a discount by qualifying consumers.

The previous most affordable Mini was the Classic, but the new Oxford Edition is US$2,150 (RM8,902) cheaper than that one. And as if that in itself isn’t enough to make the new model a tempting offer, the Oxford Edition is also much better equipped than the Classic. The Classic is only available in red, black and silver, but the new model adds British Racing Green and Starlight Blue to the available color palette. On top of that, the Oxford Edition also gains bigger 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats and a panoramic sunroof as part of its standard equipment. Also, the automatic transmission that’s a US$1,250 option with the Classic is standard with the new model.

Mini says the additional features are worth an additional US$6,900, and that comes on top of the US$2,150 lower price of the Oxford Edition.

To be able to buy one you need to be a full- or part-time student enrolled in a two-year, four-year or graduate school program at an accredited college or university. Alternatively, if you’ve graduated from one of those programmes within 12 months of buying the car you’re also eligible.

While few of us would criticise a manufacturer making a model that’s affordable for younger buyers, it does raise the question of how those not eligible for the scheme will now view the Mini Classic. Someone standing in a showroom looking at an entry level car and being told they can’t have the one with the better specification that’s also much cheaper than the cheapest one they can buy might be tempted to consider their options very carefully. — AFP-Relaxnews

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