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BMW'S MINI BASKS IN LIMELIGHT

By NBF News

At the recent Dubai Motor Show, the BMW Group left no one in any doubt that it was participating in the biggest auto show in the entire Middle East with the whole 'family', for while the BMW-badged vehicles were attracting visitors to a stand in the middle, on their immediate right was another member of the 'family' (Mini). And, not too far away, on the left, was Rolls-Royce.

It all took place in the Sheikh Saeed Hall (The Arena, SSA 12). Coincidentally, even as some new products in its line-up were being showcased with pomp, Mini also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its arrival in the Middle East with a ceremony at its stand, attended by Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro and members of the Mini family.

A Mini Cabrio driver, Fabio Cannavaro who has a self-confessed love for the daring and cheeky brand, joined Mini team members and select media to cut a special Mini anniversary cake to commemorate the occasion. Although all the visitors wanted this celebrity footballer's attention, it was two other 'special' guests that stole the limelight; this brand's first ever two-seater and the sportiest model to join the Mini family- the all-new Mini Coupé was also on display for the first time since its Middle East debut at the Drive Out Loud Mini Festival, held a few weeks earlier in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Nevertheless, for many a journalist, including yours sincerely, who are football and Mini lovers at the same time, it was a rare opportunity to have a close look at the popular Italian soccer star and even share the birthday cake with him. The Mini Coupé is the fifth Mini model in the brand's portfolio and boasts a unique body and interior concept as well as the brand's customary commitment to premium levels of quality, technology and go-kart driving experience.

Mini also used the show to stage a grand premiere for the new Paceman, thereby presenting many visitors the chance to get a first look on the Paceman Concept. But there was even more that visitors were able to see for the first time: The regional launch of the Mini Coupé was another highlight.

Just as this report was being written, words filtered in that the Mimi brand would be arriving the Nigerian market very soon, to join its bigger and older BMW cousins on the stable of Coscharis Motors, which has been handling the 'Twin-kidney' franchise in the country for about 14 years now. However, the exact date the Minis would be hitting the Coscharis showrooms across the country could not be ascertained as at the time of going to press.