By on January 27, 2015

MINI-Rocketman-Concept-2012-widescreen-01

Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW are working on such a thing, called the Minor.

Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range between $14,500 and $16,000.

As far as platforms go, the two automakers are going all in on a “bargain basement effort” for the Minor — including a reduction in size and content — instead of using a similarly sized platform like that of the Toyota Aygo, BMW preferring the Minor to not be a badge-engineered product developed and assembled elsewhere.

The new MINI would be one of five new models coming into the portfolio between now and 2018, including an all-new 2016 Countryman and a Superleggera roadster for 2018.

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57 Comments on “Toyota, BMW Working On Entry-Level MINI Minor Model...”


  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    Makes no sense and is probably a bunch of piffle. Firstly as any fule kno, ‘Minor’ is actually a position higher in the hierarchy of size than ‘Mini’ i.e. in ascending order of superiority you have ‘Mini(mus), Minor, and Major. This was reflected in the original Morris nomenclature, and is also incidentally how siblings are ordered in roll lists at English elite private schools.

    Secondly and more importantly, the ‘Minor’ nameplate is owned by Morris, which is owned by SIAC. BMW therefore do not have the right to it.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    A mighty miniscule Mini Minor might make motoring more mundane or maybe a major meme

  • avatar
    Robert Gordon

    They are indeed called Public Schools…but I fail to see the paradox. They are called Public Schools because they are open to the public (provided you can pay the fee and in some cases pass the entrance examination) as opposed to for example a religious based school. In a sense they are more public than what the Americans would understand as a public school since there is no geographical catchment restriction.

    I would also like to inform you that England is not an island but one of three countries which are located on an island known as Great Britain.

    • 0 avatar
      kovakp

      “but I fail to see the paradox”

      Uh… you called them “private”?

      But please accept my apologies for any perceived slight regarding England/Great Britain. I am but an ignorant colonial. However I *am* cognizant that without your Great People the world would never have had reggae. Or rap, for that matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        US “public school” = UK “state school”

        UK “public school” = very select group of schools that are private in the American sense of the word. The one that you may have heard of is Eton College (which is not a “college” in the US sense, but more of a middle school/ high school), which has produced a lot of famous Brits.

        UK “private school” and US “private school” are pretty much the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Waingrow

      And that is not a minor point.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “provided you can pay the fee”

      Kind of like the Aussies being able to buy any car they’d like “provided you can pay the fee”

    • 0 avatar

      It never ceases to amaze me how many conflate England with the island of Great Britain. It’s as wrong as conflating North America with the USA.
      Thanks Mr Gordon for the excellent clarification! Have you been to driventowrite lately? I hear they uphold very high standards there!
      Richard

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It never ceases to amaze me how many conflate England with the island of Great Britain.”

        It never ceased to amaze me how many Europeans believed that Jerry Springer was a documentary filmmaker who profiled the lives of ordinary Americans.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Pssssh Brits say “America” all the time to refer to the US it’s not like they don’t know, but if we say England clearly we are stupid. At least our member states haven’t come to secession votes yet LOL.

        • 0 avatar

          I have met anyone who made that mistake and I haven’t seen it referred to in the media. On the other hand it is not uncommon to here foreigners talk about England when they mean Britain. When talking about Americans one is referring to people from the USA; referring to North Americans one is including Canadians. I imagine these distinctions can be found in most style guides.
          Hurragh,
          Richard

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        North America doesn’t answer to one government. It isn’t so subtle a distinction. Maybe you should ask for whatever money you wasted on your ‘public’ education.

      • 0 avatar
        allythom

        As a Welshman living in the United States I am frequently asked if I am English or which part of England I am from (I also get asked if I’m Australian). I always try to explain that I am Welsh and from Wales and that a safer bet, if in doubt, is to ask if someone is British or from Britain, thereby encompassing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s a fairly subtle distinction to many and an honest mistake so I would never stoop to getting bent out of shape over it (well maybe a little, that one time when someone asked me if Prince Charles was my King), but some people do. I expect in much the same way a Texan might if I asked them where in New York they were from.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This is aimed at the Opel Adam and VW Up. Probably won’t be sold here.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Was there a Morris Major? I thought it jumped to Cambridge. Or was it Oxford?

    I remember Morris Minor it pharted when 2nd or 3rd was engaged.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Gordon

      There were several different generations of Morris Major. The Cambridge was and Austin (so named as a direct snub to the Morris Oxford, with which it shared a number of components) The Morris Major/Elite was based to some degree on the Morris Minor – which seems to be a recurring theme here.

  • avatar

    BMW & Toyota shall merge. One needs the volume and the other needs the prestige.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Considering that the Mini Hardtop is now about the size of a VW Golf, it would totally be appropriate for this brand to have a smaller A/B segment vehicle. It probably wont achieve huge volume but would be well-suited to urban areas.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Whatever they end up making won’t have lil dinky pillars like that and no glass.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Maybe some of you will remember the small Morris Minor… called the ‘Mini’
    http://www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk/store/images/detailed/0/T51_MORRIS_MINI_MINOR.jpg

    FINALLY, BMW is taking the car back to its roots!

  • avatar
    tienbac2005

    BMW is probably going to just re-panel the iQ.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Look at the ridiculous wheel size – must be ludicrously tiny ins!de.

    The idea behind the original Mini was maximum volume for passengers, which led to 10 inch wheels. BMW just haven’t got a clue,in my opinion. Their first MINI wasn’t much of a drive, and with a 5ft 2in female passenger stuck in the back complaining vociferously at the lack of room, and me unable to figure out how fast we were going due to the ridiculous instruments, the ten minute test drive was torture. No sale.

    Figuring that there many tiny people who need style, this new Minor merely emphasizes BMW’s priorities are the opposite of Issigonis’. Form over function sells to those with a vivid imagination about how cool they would look in this thing.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      @wmba: The original new (BMW) Mini did indeed have ridiculous retro instruments. That’s why I ordered my 2005 Mini Cooper S with the gauge package, which put both the speedo and tach back in front of the driver where they belong.

      The thing I don’t understand about this supposed new small Mini concept is that the first generation new Mini already fits those criteria pretty well. After that the Mini kept on bloating up until it got where it is now: not mini.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Our ’05 MCS has a digital speedometer inside the tachometer. That gives me all the info I need directly in front of me. The center mounted speedometer is really just a housing for the fuel and temperature gauges. My FR-S has a small speedometer to the left of the tachometer. The tachometer is mounted directly in the center of the instrument cluster, but I use the digital speed readout in the middle of the tachometer 99% of the time. The analog speedometers are rarely used on either car.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You’re wrong, Neil, the first BMW Mini did NOT fit those criteria well. Sure, it had the retro instrument panel and honestly I think it still should, despite your complaints. But even that original Mini was notably larger than the original Morris Mini. This new one is much closer to true Mini size. Problem is, most Americans simply don’t know the original Mini as their only datum have been photographs and movies. If you want a true concept of its original size, go watch the original version of “The Italian Job”. Those Minis were much smaller than the later version.

        Were the Minis capable? That depends on your definition of capable. They weren’t designed as sports cars or family cars, they were quite basic transportation for one or two people where you could either carry things or people in the back, but not both. This new concept fits that original purpose perfectly. And at half the price of the other Minis by BMW, will likely be far more popular. You couldn’t imagine how something that small can be fun, but if you think your bloated whale of a Mini is fun, just imagine being able to speed through narrow alleyways that you have to crawl through now.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “The idea behind the original Mini was maximum volume for passengers,”
      — Really? Take another look at the photo I linked elsewhere in this forum of an original Morris Mini. Also look at where the back seat passengers sit. Big wheels or not, there’s almost no difference. The original Mini still needed a solid axle in back if for no other reason than wheel alignment. Today’s independent suspensions will likely give this version more cubic footage behind the front seats than the old Morris even with the bigger wheels.

      And don’t assume the driver of one of these will have to be tiny; my wife is over six feet tall and fits behind the wheel of a Fiat 500 quite nicely even with the back seats folded down. In this case, form will equal function as it is the near-perfect ‘basic transportation’ that can still be fun.

      • 0 avatar
        allythom

        Original Mini had independent suspension front and rear -technically on early cars the front was connected to the rear via a fluid connection (hydrolastic). No solid rear axle. The rear suspension was basically a heavy duty trailing arm that actuated a horizontally mounted hydrolastic unit (rubber cone on later models) the mounting points on the training arm connected them to a rear subframe and had grease nipples on them.

        http://www.initialdave.com/cars/tech/suspensionbasics06/rearsubbig.jpg

        The wheels were 10 inch originally, and the wheel wells intruded minimally into the rear seating area on account of there being large storage bins ahead of them flanking the back seat. The link below shows this, as well as the under seat storage.

        http://jeepdraw.com/images/jeepdraw/GPW_in_Detail/BB-Austin-Mini-rear-seat.jpg

        The design brief was, I believe, to offer as much interior space as possible in a small package (something to do with fitting in a small postwar garage IIRC). Contemporary advertising played this up by featuring pictures of an improbable amount of people and stuff piled outside the car, the implication being that this would all fit inside. I don’t know if it would, but as a former owner of a 1980 Mini I can attest to there being a surprising amount of room inside for a car that was only 10 feet 3 inches long. A slightly longer 1970 Mini Clubman Estate (station wagon) served as family transportation when I was a child and took my parents, my sister and I everywhere (school, shops, swimming, even several trips from the Wales to The Netherlands). I spent many of my formative years in that car.

        The Morris Minor (different car) was rear wheel drive and had a log in the back.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    What kind of awful automatic transmission will they poison this with?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>Pricing would range between $14,500 and $16,000.<<

    THe orig BMW "Mini" debuted w/ a $16k base in the US. Problem was/is everything BMW does is ala carte and $16k easily became $22k and up.

    I'll bet the same happens here.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      My then-gf and I ordered a Mini Cooper when they first came out. We didn’t get an automatic, or stability control, or a supercharged S, or larger than stock wheels. Still, with heated ‘panther’ leather seats, climate control, a large glass sunroof, and other stuff I’ve long forgotten(the car fell to pieces in three years); the price was over $21K. Amazingly enough, the only significant parts that didn’t cause issues were the Brazilian Neon-20% engine and the much-maligned Rover 5-speed. Hopefully, Toyota will provide the mechanical components for the Mini-Minor. It won’t be enough though, judging by my previous Mini Cooper experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “THe orig BMW “Mini” debuted w/ a $16k base in the US.”
      — Really? Would you believe I never saw ONE Mini advertised for less than $27K when they arrived? Even the ‘New Beetle’ from VW sold for no less than $30K during its entire product run here. (I’ll admit I don’t know what the ‘squashed’ Beetle is selling for now.)

      Based on the descriptions however, I think this $16-$17K starting point is quite realistic as it’s sole purpose is to give the Fiat 500 some legitimate competition.

  • avatar

    I looked up the Mini and Minor naming. In the intervening years the naming system has been forgotten. “Minor” refers to a larger car (my mum had one). There was never a Mini Minor. The mistake being made here is analogous to naming a BMW the 3-series 5 (and having the car smaller than the standard 3-series. Put another way, the Morris Minor is to the Morris Mini what a 5 is to a 3, namely bigger.
    I presume they’ll rethink this one.
    Thanks Mr Gordon for pointing this out.

  • avatar

    Thanks for that link Allythom. Right. I throw my hands up in the air. On the one side, for most of the time there was a Morris Mini and Morris Minor, two separate cars. For some of the time the marketing geniuses at BMC sold the thing we call the Mini (or Austin 7) as the Morris Mini-Minor. That really makes little sense to me and does seem in itself like a kind of mis-step that is not worth repeating. As I struggle to see it, the BMC people were linking the Mini to the Minor by implying the Mini was a smaller version of the Minor?
    I can´t fathom this any more than some of the wierd shifts in models and trim variants at GM over the years where the Oldsmobile Bodge gets a trim level called Bodge Elite which then becomes its own car, the Oldsmobile Bodge which is related to a smaller platform than the Olds Bodge or Olds Bodge Elite.
    I should have stayed away from this one.
    Except: does Toyota really need to platform share with BMW and does BMW really need to platform share with Toyota? This links across to the thread about when BMW stopped being “cool”. Isn´t platform sharing with Toyota the final nail in the coffin of BMW´s image as an elite maker of special cars for the non-mainstream? I shall bury forever my mental image of the BMW as being related to the 1982-1991 E-30 or the 88-96 5-series.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Mini-Minor and Seven were the launch names. It made sense, as the Mini was a radical concept in 1959. Leonard Lord didn’t know how it would be received by the public, so he used familiar names to reassure potential buyers. The Mini-Minor name served to connect the rubber-springed, transverse engined, gearbox in the sump Mini with the trusted Minor. The Austin Seven was presented as a rebirth of England’s Model-T, the pre-war Austin 7. When the public responded well to the Mini’s attributes, the names linking it to conventional models were dropped.

      • 0 avatar
        allythom

        That certainly makes sense. British Leyland repeated this trick in 1980 when they launched the purported successor to the Mini, the Austin miniMetro, which later dropped the ‘mini’ part of its name when it became clear that the Mini wasn’t going anywhere, and then later again dropped the Austin part to be badged just Metro.

        In the end the Mini outlasted the Metro, production of the ‘classic’ Mini ended in 2000, by which time the Metro name had been dead for 5 years.


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