► Mini Minor planned for 2018/2019
► Partnership with Toyota proposed
► 3450mm footprint mooted
BMW is planning to take Mini back to its small-car roots - with a Mini Minor. This is great news for fans of the historic British baby, which has grown podgy under German ownership, and shows that the shrunken Mini Rocketman concept car (pictured here) wasn’t in vain.
But it’s also an intriguing industrial development: BMW is planning to co-develop the baby Mini with Toyota. For the full story, check out the Insider industry news section in the new March 2015 issue of CAR magazine.
Click here for a sneak preview of CAR magazine.
Mini Minor (2019): what we know
Product planners in Germany acknowledge that the Mini has grown tubby in recent years, stretching to 4005mm in five-door hatchback form. Hence the desire to surf the downsizing trend with a new smaller model, scheduled to stretch just 3450mm long. For reference, that’s the same footprint as the new Smart Forfour.
The Mini Minor is likely to come to market in late 2018 or early 2019, CAR can reveal. ‘It’s still early days as far as the baby Mini goes,’ said our source in Munich. ‘But when our new R&D board member Klaus Fröhlich travelled to America early in the new year, this was one of the subjects on his agenda.’
How cheap could a baby Mini be?
We hear the new entry-level hatchback will cost in the €12,500 to €13,500 price bracket, or around £9000-£10,000. The Minor name dates back to 1959 when the original Issigonis design was first marketed as Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor. There are bound to be numerous licensing hurdles to clear before the name reaches showrooms, but BMW owns a significant back catalogue of nameplates from its ownership of MG Rover, don’t forget…
Early styling exercises show an exciting three-door hatch which combines Paceman and Rocketman (the 2011 concept) overtones with fresh proportions and plenty of new details such as a double-bubble rear roof section, upright split Union Jack taillights, a small trapezoidal grille and blacked-out pillars. You won’t mistake it for anything but a modern Mini.
BMW and Toyota: a flourishing love affair
Back in 2003, Mini launched its first diesel version powered by a Toyota engine. By 2011, the German-Japanese love affair had matured to a point when both partners signed an extensive cooperation agreement. Only a couple of months later, BMW agreed to supply diesel engines to Toyota and to develop future models together.
In exchange, the Bavarians were given access to Toyota’s fuel-cell know-how. Even more recently, the two manufacturers began to evaluate a joint small-car venture - which will lead to the new Mini Minor and what is being dubbed the Toyota Starlet, a bijou replacement for the slow-selling iQ.
Rather than basing this new pairing on the innards of a Toyota Aygo (and consequently, the French duo of Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108), BMW and Toyota are planning a new platform for their premium tiny tots. It will be compatible with electric powertrains (although most will be petrol or diesel powered) and will be capable of being built in Plant Oxford.
Read the full story on the new Mini Minor in the March 2015 issue of CAR magazine.