BMW launches soft-tops for richer and for poorer

Geneva Motor Show: BMW wows with Mini and Rolls but Rover whimpers
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The Independent Online

Two very different convertibles made their world debuts at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday. One will be available this summer priced at £15,000 and aimed at the fun end of the market. The other is for the seriously rich and will probably sport a price tag of nearer £300,000 when it hits the road some time later this decade.

Apart from their soft-tops the Mini convertible, above, and the Rolls-Royce 100EX, right, have two other things in common. They come from the stable of BMW and they seat four people, albeit in varying degrees of comfort.

The new Mini convertible goes on sale in the UK in July, following the runaway success of the saloon launched three years ago. BMW reckons the soft-top will account for about a fifth of all Mini sales.

The 100EX is strictly a concept vehicle and Rolls insists there are no plans to turn it into a production model. But company executives make no secret of the fact that a convertible is high on the list of priorities following the launch of the Rolls-Royce Phantom a year ago.

Sales of the new Mini have reached 345,000 since its rebirth under BMW ownership in July 2001 and the German company expects to sell a further 180,000 this year including about 35,000 soft-tops.