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Mini Has Big Plans for New Small-Car Platform

British marque may soon offer as many as 10 different models.

by on Oct.14, 2013

The next Mini hatchback will debut in LA -- the Vision Concept shown here giving a hint of what's to come.

You can be small and still think big.  Just ask Mini, the British subsidiary of BMW that has, in barely a dozen years since its global re-launch gone from a small niche player with a minimal line-up of microcars to a fast-growing brand with a rapidly expanding product mix.

And the line-up will soon grow by as much as 50%, according to the BMW board member who oversees the Mini brand, it seems. The key is the upcoming launch of an all-new Mini hatchback based on a flexible front-drive platform developed in cooperation with the marque Bavarian parent.  In fact, this new “architecture” will soon give BMW a replacement for its 1-Series, the German maker’s first front-wheel-drive offering.

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The modern-day incarnation of Mini initially debuted with just the familiar hatchback model, but after generating enough sales to take even its most optimistic executives by surprise, a variety of alternatives began pouring into dealer showrooms, including the four-seat convertible, the Mini Open, a roadster, the five-door Countryman crossover and, all told, a total of seven different models now vying for space in the maker’s showrooms.

But get ready for Mini generation three, which will debut at the upcoming LA Auto Show. “With the new ULK architecture, we currently have in mind eight to 10 models,” BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer tells Automotive News Europe.


First Look: Mini Rocketman Concept

British brand goes back to its roots with 3+1 microcar.

by on Feb.22, 2011

An even mini-er Mini, the Rocketman debuts in Geneva next week.

Few automakers have undergone a more rapid brand expansion than Mini, the British marque that seems to be flooding the automotive world with new concepts and production cars.

Mini raised some eyebrows with the launch of the Countryman, last year, which was not only its largest-ever model, but its first crossover, first 4-door and first use of all-wheel-drive.  But for the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, the maker is moving in a decidedly different direction.


If anything, the Mini Rocketman Concept is a return to the brand’s classic roots.  But don’t think Mini is playing it safe.  Just 3.4 meters (about 11 feet) in total length Rocketman is a microcar that still delivers enough interior space for four passengers.