What's Ze Deal Mit MINI?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

BMW’s Norbert Reithofer scored some brownie points in Old Blighty by “ confirming” that “the MINI Coupe concept car and another new MINI model [SPOILER ALERT: it’s a roadster] will both be built at Oxford.” Jolly good and all that, but Ze Germans just laid off 850 Oxford employees in February. So, are the Coupe and Roadster being fast-tracked for production? “We can’t put a number on it yet,” says Reithofer. “It will be years before we begin production. It takes time to scale up.” But why let that ruin some good hype?

One of hype’s many benefits is that it allows bad news to be completely glossed over. The MINI “ Crossman” won’t even be shown in production trim until 2010 “at the earliest”, reports Autocar, but who cares? It’s about the concepts! “The Crossover launch has been pushed back as we wish to first explore differentiation within future Mini smaller models and get feedback,” explain BMW spokesvolk.

The “Crossman” was planned for a 2010 rollout, based on the BMW X1 underpinnings and built by Magna-Steyr. But the X1 is going on sale this month in Germany, reports Automotive News [sub]. So the delay probably isn’t technical.

The tinfoil chapeau crowd might suggest that BMW is trying to put Magna-Steyr’s parent, Magna International, on notice for its Opel ambitions. Those of the green persuasion might take the previous paragraph’s PR pablum to mean that even MINI is concerned with its enviro-image. In reality, the only market for this un-MINI is right here in the USA, where a 2011 launch goal remains (as far as we can tell) on track.

The Roadster and Coupe Concepts may appear in production before the Crossover, based on the level of gaga enthusiasm they generate over the auto show season. But really, how likely is that? What MINI owner really wishes their pocket rocket had just a little less room?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Nicodemus Nicodemus on Sep 03, 2009

    850 wokers laid off? Must have made for interesting local newspaper headline puns involving "Morris 850..." The Oxford plant is actually the Cowley works which is still known locally as 'The Morris'. and...The Morris 850 was another name for the original Mini.

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Sep 03, 2009

    I'm sorry, I never got the whole Mini concept, so as far as I'm concerned, they can make electrified personal sex devices. Come to think of it, given Mini's demographic...that may not have been too far off the mark. But seriously, here's the problem for Mini: the market for overpriced toy cars is, by definition, limited, and if you try to enlarge it by making larger toy cars, you're risking diluting the brand.

  • Arthur Dailey 'The capitalists will sell use the very rope that we use to hang them.' In our household we have cut down our shopping/spending and pay more to purchase products from 1st world nations or 2nd world nations that are our 'allies'. That also means quite often only buying and eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Just like our parents and grandparents did.At least TTAC published an article on May 21st regarding LAN transformers that contravene the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act being used in some BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and VW products?
  • ToolGuy I wouldn't buy any old Chinese brand of vehicle, but the right EV at the right price, maybe possibly yes. If you told me this would alarm Ford and torque off FreedMike, all the better. 😉P.S. I would *definitely* consider an EV made in Taiwan. Take that, paramount leader!P.P.S. China batteries/components to convert one of my ICE vehicles to EV? Yes.
  • Wolfwagen I expect Renault to be less popular than Fiat
  • ToolGuy Helium-3, baby!
  • Roman Our 1999 Pontiac Sunfire Gt is still running without any issues. 25 years and counting.