Mini Draws Line, Won't Build Any New Models - For a While, Anyway
Forget all about a Mini sedan, roadster, or even an extra-small two-seat hatchback. The British automaker isn’t having any of it.
Despite earlier reports to the contrary, Mini has no immediate plans to diversify its current lineup, preferring to wait until the next-generation Mini rolls along before going nuts (if indeed it ever does). In the meantime, are you interested in a crossover or near-crossover?
The automaker confirmed to Top Gear that the existing two-and four-door Cooper, Convertible, Clubman and Countryman will remain the only animals in the Mini stable until early next decade. That’s when a fourth-generation Cooper should appear, possibly with new siblings.
By turning off the lights in the product development room, Mini has shattered hopes of anyone getting their hands on a production Superleggera Roadster. That would-be model bowed in 2014 as a svelte electric concept vehicle. Also off the table is a two-seat micro Mini, first envisioned as the 2011 Rocketman concept.
But hey, who’s interested in a John Cooper Works Countryman?
Mini made headlines last year after its vice-president of product development, Ralph Mahler, suggested a small sedan would make good business sense in high-volume markets. That immediately drew cries of disgust from Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW Group board member in charge of the brand. While he said he couldn’t rule it out, Schwarzenbauer said the thought of a sedan residing among Mini’s ranks caused him to fear for the brand’s identity.
According to a company source who spoke with Top Gear, the economics weren’t working in favor of either the Rocketman or Superleggera. Even if fitted with a conventional powerplant, the sports car market remains too niche for Mini to bother with. As well, a two-seater mini Mini wouldn’t actually be that much smaller than the existing Cooper.
The other end of the market — the large, spacious, all-wheel-drive end — doesn’t have the same profit margin issues as the small side, though few would argue the Countryman is a key part of the brand’s heritage.
[Image: Mini USA]
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