As some of you may have seen Chevrolet introduced a concept at the Detroit Auto Show that looked quite familiar. Eric over at Rocketboy's MINI Weblog has a nice summary of the Nomad's MINI similarities. Here's an excerpt:

Tech TV's Tech Live was doing a story about the Detroit Auto show, and I happened to see something which caught my eye. What was it? The New Chevy Nomad. Which looks just a WEE bit like the front end of a MINI. Click here for a huge pic from Autospies.

Coincidence? Well, according to article by BBC's Top Gear, it's not. And I'm wondering if MINI/BMW is currently calling their lawyers.

According to the article, “Simon Cox, Director of the GM Advanced Design UK studio in Coventry, is the man behind the Nomad. He says: “I wasn't strictly targeting the Mini, but there are certain similarities. I wanted this car to have real personality, something the Mini clearly has – it has a character, a soul. The Mini's appeal also crosses a lot of generations. You can equally imagine younger and older people driving it. While the Nomad is very compact, it's lower, wider and much more flexible,” he says. “I envisage it being used by business people, families or the sort of driver who'd want to paint a great big white stripe down the middle of it and take it to a track.”

…”The moves also to make the Nomad a more practical proposition than the Mini further stretch to the rear seats. “The Mini really isn't terribly clever in terms of its packaging,” says Cox. “That's what we wanted to target with this car. It's a proper four-seater, where the Mini is strictly speaking a 2+2.””

You can read the entire article and find out yet more info here.

When Cox says that the MINI isn't terribly clever with some of it's packaging I can only assume he's referring to the rear seat/suspension area. Which of course is somewhat true due to the fact that BMW/MINI rigorously engineered the car to accept the famed z-link rear suspension. While this does cause for some lack of space in the rear it's a major part of why the MINI feels like it does. It doesn't surprise me that a GM designer didn't quite understand that.