MINI To Be Judicious With Future Concept Vehicles

We love seeing new production and concept vehicles from the clever folks at MINI. Last month’s Paris Motor Show saw the reveal of the MINI Scooter E and the Countryman WRC race car. But can there be too much of a good thing? According to Autocar, Design leads Gert Hildebrand and Adrian van Hooydonk say yes. In fact, they’ve got more fun stuff to show us in the future, but they’re giving us all a chance to “get used to” the current crop of new MINIs, especially the Countryman, before we see anything else.

But why the caution? Adrian van Hooydonk explains, “We have ideas for MINI in the future, but we need to be careful how we communicate them. MINI is a very sensitive brand.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. What do you do when you design vehicles for some of the most passionate car enthusiasts in the automotive world? You take it very, very seriously.

So what will we see next? Sources say that at Geneva next year we can expect a concept for MINI’s smallest car since the original: the “City Car” — a vehicle that’s likely to share a similar footprint to the iconic original. We can’t wait. What do you think? Is MINI creating new cars at a sensible pace? Would you like to see more?

  • MINI need to take it slowly with the new concepts, as they are seriously diversifying away from what the Mini was to begin with.

    MINI may be a brand now, but it still needs to respect where its success came from – a tiny 10ft car. Keep the brand values in mind and it will be ok, but there are still a lot of people who cherish the classic and are still coming to terms with MINI as a brand, let alone all these new creations.

  • Borinot

    I think, and I have said on more than one occasion, suddenly MINI has entered a sort of fever for new products, neglecting the older models. I get the impression that MINI is no longer so alone in the segment for which we know and it’ll be equaled or exceeded, even inside the house by BMW. The clearest example is in the JCW, instead of updating it and making it live up to its new rivals, MINI (forced or voluntarily) handed the baton to BMW to create 1M, and has been to explore other areas where think there is less competition and can give a touch of originality. On the question, of course I would like to see more, but watched the new MINI models, more like curiosity than as a customer.

  • JonPD

    “We have ideas for MINI in the future, but we need to be careful how we communicate them. MINI is a very sensitive brand.”

    To me this reads as is they have felt some of the push back from their community about the direction of the brand and realized that they could have handled the brand recently a bit better. It could also mean that they feel that its possible that some of what they are working on could be polarizing within the community if not handled well.

  • @JonPD… I don’t read that comment that way at all? Seems to me they were stating that us owners are pretty picky and they do listen to us.

  • Michael

    MINI have become just another division of BMW, with very smooth running, high performance vehicles that seem to have no character. I think MINI must stay true to its core concepts which harken back to the original Mini. It seems BMW is just bringing out new models to be all things to all people. I do not see this in Porche nor Saab – Those two brands have a limited number of iterations, but they do very good work and produce very fine cars. Does MINI have to compete with Mazda Miata – I think not.

  • hardingsan

    porsche has a 2 seater, a convertible, and suv, and a sedan/wagon.

    saab has sedans, wagons, suv, and is in the process of developing a small hatchback.

    how are either of those companies not diversifying like MINI?

    i see concept vehicles as a great way to get people into auto show exhibits, but in my opinion, they should stay at production level quality and either be ready for a relatively close release or an obvious styling practice. nothing frustrates me more than an auto company that shows a future model as a ‘concept’ but doesn’t release it to the market for 3+ years.

  • txdesign

    So when will we see the first hints of the Gen 3 Mini hatch? If the City Car will be shown in Geneva, maybe IAA Frankfurt next year?

  • Greg W

    @Michael – I agree. I’m not sure about Saab, but Porsche has pretty much stuck to core values and roots. BMW was the playboy’s sports car and the Formula 1 set, but went for mass production and luxury. Having said that by diversifying they starved off take over bids, unlike Porsche. But to keep small and limit your range of models, take the example of VW Beetle – not much to offer but a 2-door coupe and convertible, and may be a Kombi camper. Remember that the original Mini was only a model of the range of vehicles that were made by BMC (British Motor Corporation). You would have to say that BMW are the biggest success of the auto industry which now of course includes MINI.

  • Nick Dawson

    According to Autocar, BMW is due to show the ‘Minissimo’ city car concept next spring, which is likely to be based on a cut-down version of today’s Mini hatch platform and have either a two or three seat layout. Despite the profusion of niche models, however, the challenge for the Mini design team is to nail down the form of the Mini 3, which will be based on the same all-new platform as the planned BMW range of compact front-drive cars and is expected to look and feel more sophisticated and ‘jewel-like’ than the current three door. Reportedly another rather more unexpected version of the Mini being considered by the design team is a notchback, which some at BMW argue would attract buyers in countries that regard hatchbacks as low rent. A three-door van based on a version of the Countryman platform is also likely to feature in the future Mini plan. Personally, my favourite concept has to be the Countryman Coupe, as dramatic looking as the Range Rover Evoque but dramatically cheaper and in a more city-friendly package. Wunderbar!

  • Aurel

    I am still waiting for the model that gives me goosebumps and elation the way spotting the 02 Cooper for the first time did.

  • MatthewW

    So, does this mean it’s safe to use the word “dilution” around here now? (Ducking for cover now, just in case 😉

    Funny, for me, the timing of this post. I ran across the old Let’s Sip MINI ad last night:

    @Aurel, well said! Remember that feeling well.

  • bear

    Do we have to wait until the Countryman deliveries begin, to learn more about the Coupe’s progress?

  • Don’t overlook the Fiat 500 coming to the US soon.

  • @aurel… I hear, I hear ya!

  • goat

    Good to hear this. Product diversification and design studies are vital and show that muscular creativity is definitely present in the MINI design group, but the brand’s core product continues to be the hatch and hatch variants (and, related to this, an even smaller city car in the spirit of the original mini).

    Also, “jewel-like” is exactly where many here and in the press have been saying for years that the “R56 and friends” dropped the ball relative to the R53. Hope to see this restored with the gen3 car.

  • MatthewW

    “Also, “jewel-like” is exactly where many here and in the press have been saying for years that the “R56 and friends” dropped the ball relative to the R53. Hope to see this restored with the gen3 car.”

    @goat, could you expand on this. Fascinated. (If you want to DM me, @matthewwanderer on T.)

  • gotheframe

    Maybe the City Car could come with the “spill-all-over-the-dash-so-the-buttons-stick” cup holder. Awesome. Cause I enjoy the minimalistic approach to the fast-food drive-thru.

  • goat

    @mattheww – will do! 🙂