We had heard rumors last year of ItaldesignÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s involvement in the next generation MINI but at the time they were sketchy and hardly worth a mention. Well they’re sketchy no more. Automotive news has put the pieces together and is reporting that Italdesign is working with BMW to help engineer the car’s chassis and body structure. Here’s an excerpt from the article:
BMW styled the new Mini and designed the MiniÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s powertrain jointly with its cooperation partner PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and it will be built at MiniÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s UK plant. But Italdesign is handling all other development ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” including developmental engineering of the body, structure and chassis ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” and parts validation.
…BMW says it chose an outsider to handle the development because it lacked capacity in its Munich headquarters and engineering facilities.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt is a question of capacity within the company,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Burkhard Göschel, BMW board member for research and development.
You can read the entire article below:[ Next MINI Has Italian Roots ] Automotive News
While these are crucial parts of a car that Italdesign is engineering, I wouldn’t be too concerned about this changing the MINI’s soul. Remember that what Italdesign is working on is basically the underlying body structure and not the final performance of the car. And for those who are still worried, consider that much of the current MINI was developed by engineers at Rover in the 90’s and by Chrysler drivetrain employees in Detroit. And that seemed to work out rather well.