Initial plans for the UK network call for around 180 to 200 sales points, of which 90% will be existing Rover franchises - but many of the premium locations could go to BMW outlets.
Wolfgang Vollath, Mini brand director, said: “There could be 10 to 20 prime BMW dealers, in suitable sites, who will get the franchise. We want to create the best possible network for the car. Every dealer has to have a business case for it.”
He expected dealers to make a “big investment in Mini at the point of sale”, not just creating sales but also in workshop and staff training.
In other countries where Mini will be sold, including Germany, around 80 to 90% of the dealers will be BMW. The split in Japan is likely to be 50-50 while, in the US, the brand will be shared between BMW and Land Rover but “we will not be marketing the car heavily in rural areas”, said Mr Vollath.
“The Mini is the first real BMW Group car. It will be built in Longbridge and sold by BMW wholesale.”