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Rumor: Production Rocketman is a No Go

WhatCar.com is reporting in an interview with BMW/MINI leadership that while the recent BMW investment in UK manufacturing may spawn as many as 10 MINI variants, the Rocketman Concept will not be among them. While clever doors and composite materials featured in the Rocketman Concept will see the light of day in future MINI models, Ian Robertson put it pretty bluntly:


The Rocketman was a concept and we have no plans to take it further, but features of it will appear on future Minis.

No word yet on if this kills the entire MINI city car program, but we will do our best to find out more.

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Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • Knvalerin

    Grrr……….

  • Knvalerin

    Grrr……….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148637467 Trevor Zaharichuk

    Interesting, as it was previously reported the rocketman was a go…

  • JonPD

    BOOOOO

    Sure hope this is just a rumor. It blows my mind since I don’t think even the coupe brought about the same huge positive response as the Rocketman has.

  • KLF23

    If it is confirmed that MINI is not making a smaller car than the current R56 then I believe I will not be alone in taking my money elsewhere for my future purchases. I hope this is incorrect and he just meant that it will not be exacly like the concept.

    • http://twitter.com/matthewwanderer Matthew Wanderer

      I think I’m with you here.  There’s a difference, perhaps, between the RM concept and a smaller MINI.  

      In this regard, the RM concept (with all its flourishes) can stay a concept, but I am very interested in MINI’s plans to actually bring a smaller MINI to the market.  IMO, the MINI state of mind is not enough, MINI/BMW needs to put a smaller MINI on the road. Fingers crossed, anyway.

  • Hoover

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there about this car–whether it will be produced or not–likelihood of US availability–what elements (i.e., carbon fiber and door design) might be used. I still hope that they build it, and we somehow get it in the U.S.

  • http://twitter.com/lets_motor_ohio Doug

    Ditto JonPD. BOOOO. C’mon, MINI, build it and bring it (here).

  • Dave

    IMO a dumb looking car let alone being a MINI product.   Glad to hear it’s deep 6.  

  • Christian Doetsch

    but the van… !)(/)(!”$/%”&=( Damn Controller in Munich^^

  • R Burns

    Creating awful Minis like Countryman or Coupe, no problem, but when it’s time to make a real Mini, nobody… Soon the end of the Mini miracle ? I fear it

    • Aurel

      the next gen hatch better be the second coming as there is nothing else down the line that looks too exciting. with the current track record, they’ll manage to water down the Paceman also.

  • DWIGHT WALHOOD

    Well POO if true!

  • Anonymous

    That stinks. This was pretty much the only MIni I was interested in since the R50/53. My interest in the 3rd gen car went out the window with the news that it would be bigger. Looks like the 500 Abarth will be my next choice.

    • Frostytequila

      Are you kidding? The new Fiat ghas got to be one of the ugliest cars produced!

      • Frostytequila

        Its right up there with the Pontiac Aztec, AMC Gremlin and Pacer as far as ugliness goes.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry, I like it. I drove my friend’s Abarth in Munich and it put the same smile on my face that my old 03 MCS did. Mini has lost its way.

    • Anonymous

      what news that it would be bigger?

    • Anonymous

      what news that it would be bigger?

  • Harry Dill

    While I applaud MINI for moving toward smaller versus larger/Countryman-scale designs, I concur with other commentators. To describe the concept as ugly akin to the Aztec and Pacer may be a bit overstated, but it certainly appears cartoonish and vaguely expressive of the much more purposeful, signature MINI aesthetic. Just as txdesign has stated, “MINI has lost its way,” although I would not describe the Rocketman as being in the same “ugliness league” as the Gremlin, Aztec, and Pacer.

    The concept incorporates many interesting and potentially viable design features that could translate into other models. Regrettably, it seems that MINI continues to move away from its roots to capture market share versus capture the hearts and souls of MINI enthusiasts. After taking a major turn in the right direction with the GP, the company has seemingly slid off track and needs to reassess its core values (and those of its diehard MINI enthusiast/consumers) to get back on track. If it fails to do so, MINI will imperil its legendary identity, as well as, the business of its formerly passionate consumers. 

    While the commercial viability of design diversification e.g., the Rapide, Panamera, four-door Ferrari, and SUV iterations from sport car manufacturers may be convincingly argued, such digression undeniably dilutes the character of the marques, and may ultimately render them little more than high-priced consumables rather than legendary machines with proud motorsports lineage. If marketers are intent on line expansion, why not just cross-license their names to any manufacturer e.g., the Harley-Davidson F-100 pickup, or the Eddie Baur and LL Bean editions. Why not just let GMC stick a MINI badge on a truck and instantly synthesize a new model. It’s patently bizarre! Stick to your roots MINI — it’s the best way to go and … the best way to grow strong in the long run.

    • Anonymous

      Very well put Harry. While I understand that larger models like the Countyman are necessary to keep MINI financially relevant, it seems Mini has abandoned their core enthusiasts. I know I sound like the BMW owners who still say the the E30 M3 was the last great BMW produced but I don’t see how a larger 3rd gen model hatch will be a real MINI for the enthusiast. Don’t tell me about the JCW or JCW Coupe, because if I am looking to spend almost 40K (I am not) for a performance car it will not have FWD.

      • Versus

        Did I miss where the 3rd gen became bigger or where the JCW model became 40k? I understand people are disappointed but as of now this is still a rumor. 

        • Anonymous

          Coupe pricing, according to this website, will be between the hatch and the convertible. If you price a JCW hatch with a few options and add the Coupe premium that will get you to 40K in a hurry.

        • Versus

          I guess if you get happy with the packages you select you can hit 40k in a hurry, but with the JCW aero kit becoming standard I’d think that would help.  It’s easy to get out of your depth with any MINI if you get a “few” options.  But more to the topic of this article, I can’t find anything definitive on the 3rd gen being bigger, so concerns about model bloat (which I would have) seem unfounded at the current time.

      • Harry Dill

        Thank you txdesign. We are in accord. 

        If given the benefit of the doubt, MINI may presume that its target demographic has, by and large, little or not knowledge of, or interest in, the motorsport lineage of the brand. It is therefore able to successfully market MINI as little more than a novel, cute, economical car versus an exceptional performance vehicle designed with the enthusiast in mind first and foremost. And while the JCW may ostensibly help stir the soul of the enthusiast, it has been regrettably upstaged by the other MINI models. To be entirely fair, we must acknowledge that Morris Minor and MINI were once all BMC products. Under the umbrella, a fairly diverse model lineup  – including the Mini Moke, Morris “Woody” wagons, etc. were offered. Some of the later versions, such as the Austin America was specifically designed as an “ecobox” highly touted for its “elastomeric” suspension and generous interior space courtesy of FWD.  BMC made no pretense of the Austin being a performance hatch. The performance hatch came into being as the MINI Cooper brand — replete with all kinds of after-market goodies, including beautiful alloy quick-release filler caps, dry sump lubrication systems, close-ratio gearboxes, and of course, a variety of iconic Minlite wheels.

        In terms of BMW, the 4-cylinder M3 (basic F1 engine block that transported Nelson Piquet to many BMW Motorsport victories) was quite exquisite to look at, and to drive. BMW straight sixes (of M1 fame) are legendary for their turbine-like smoothness. Now we have eights. tens, and twelves. In retrospect, the jury may decide, that the additional cylinders and increased displacement were regressive vis-a-vis today’s conservationist priorities. Of course, a high-revving engine, regardless of the cylinder count, provides a joyous aural experience.

        We are also in accord regarding $40k for a FWD vehicle. In two words — No Way!

        And one must ask the recurring question — why not the diesel for the USA? It could become another enthusiast seed and grow a cult similar to the TDI enthusiasts that appreciate diesel power, economy, and durability. AUDI and Peugeot proved just how glorious diesel power can be at Le Mans today.

  • HERR26

    Over the past few weeks there have been reports that indeed the Rocketman is heading for production but the reports are insinuating that the car will follow the concept and use all the lightweight sources as identified by the concept and sharing CFRP  with the BMWi3.  One such idea is a BMWi interpretation of a future city car – dubbed the modern isetta which could share with the Rocketman , however this is expected before the end of the decade and would probably share with the next generation.

    In it’s carry over straight from Concept it would not be such a proposition for production because it would be more expensive to produce and purchase than the regular MINI. The Rocketman will indeed go in to production around the second half of this decade but not in the form or genetic make-up of the Concept car due to legislations to make the car road worthy.

    The car will have to be completely re-engineered and by the looks of MINI’s capacity for manufacturing in the UK.  Production could occur in one of BMW’s German plants or indeed at Magna Steyer in Austria. Another dark horse will be BMW’s announcement of a new facility in Eastern Europe which is expected before the end of the year which will be the base of BMW’s UKL family.

    There is a desire to have a City programme below the regular MINI but whilst the outline and design elements can be carried over , the engineering and genetics has to start from scratch. Sometimes the media forget to realise this and mis-interpret the original statement.

    • jeff

      thank you for the explanation.  glad to hear the miniMINI is still in the works.

    • JonPD

      Glad to hear this too.

      Just hoping that by the time it comes out it will have this size of platform. Historical view of BMW shows a serious trend of making cars bigger over time.

  • HERR26

    Over the past few weeks there have been reports that indeed the Rocketman is heading for production but the reports are insinuating that the car will follow the concept and use all the lightweight sources as identified by the concept and sharing CFRP  with the BMWi3.  One such idea is a BMWi interpretation of a future city car – dubbed the modern isetta which could share with the Rocketman , however this is expected before the end of the decade and would probably share with the next generation.

    In it’s carry over straight from Concept it would not be such a proposition for production because it would be more expensive to produce and purchase than the regular MINI. The Rocketman will indeed go in to production around the second half of this decade but not in the form or genetic make-up of the Concept car due to legislations to make the car road worthy.

    The car will have to be completely re-engineered and by the looks of MINI’s capacity for manufacturing in the UK.  Production could occur in one of BMW’s German plants or indeed at Magna Steyer in Austria. Another dark horse will be BMW’s announcement of a new facility in Eastern Europe which is expected before the end of the year which will be the base of BMW’s UKL family.

    There is a desire to have a City programme below the regular MINI but whilst the outline and design elements can be carried over , the engineering and genetics has to start from scratch. Sometimes the media forget to realise this and mis-interpret the original statement.

  • Nick Dawson

    It is incredible to think that the original classic Mini, that most iconic of British cars, was responsible for the downfall of the British owned motor industry. But the consensus view amongst motor industry historians is that the introduction of the Mini in 1959 was the first nail in the coffin, and that the British Motor Corporation would have been better advised to showcase the Mini purely as an intellectual concept of what could be achieved, and then concentrate on producing a larger more profitable version. To put it simply, the Mini hardly ever made any money for BMC or its subsequent owners, and set off a chain reaction of decline.

    BMW will be well aware of the historical implications, for the company itself was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1959 when the Quandt family, who still control BMW, saved the ailing car maker from being swallowed by Mercedes-Benz. BMW has since evolved into an extremely focussed and far sighted enterprise, and has survived and thrived on a razor-sharp strategy that has been the secret of its success. The next generation of MINI’s sharing their all new highly versatile UKL1 platform with future front-drive BMW’s, is the next step.

    The Mini is dead – Long live the MINI. 

    • Really?

      Of course they won’t make it. Why would Mini actually do something people like? Instead they keep making turds like the R56 and all it’s crummy varients. They totally dropped the ball on the Coupe’ by actually make it heavier than a coupe.

      Long live the R53. They got it right the first time. 

      • Michael

        Long live the R52 also – It’s a “Real” MINI>

      • Nick Dawson

        Judging by the global sales figures this year, MINI is already building cars that people like.

        • Really?

          Sure, so does Kia.

          Those of us who were lucky enough to get the first generation got a car was was designed to be unique and exclusive to enthusiests. Not for mass distribution like the PT Cruiser.

          Now Mini waters down the brand with a different version of the same imposter for every buyer. World wide sales don’t impress me. If it impresses you then you can get all excited about the Ford Focus as well.

        • jeff

          top level ford focus is supposed to be (and was in previous generations) one hell of a car.

  • gokartride

    They may will find us all looking around one of these days and realizing that MINI isn’t mini anymore.  I am all for a fully reengineered version, but MINI may be late to the party. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jayparry Jason Parry

    WHat about the paceman?

  • bugaw59

    It’s going to happen, as Herr26 said. A smaller MINI for the enthusiasts, and maybe a bigger one for the family?

  • bugaw59

    It’s going to happen, as Herr26 said. A smaller MINI for the enthusiasts, and maybe a bigger one for the family?

  • Nick Dawson

    A smaller MINI will only happen if BMW decides to make a city car and share its platform with the MINI, otherwise it would not be cost effective.

    The bigger MINI ‘MAT’ (MINI Activity Tourer) code-named F62 is being designed alongside the BMW FAST (Family Activity Sports Tourer) and both are said to be pencilled in for 2016. The MINI will be the smaller of the two. The Quandt family who control BMW are reported to be particularly keen on the MINI ‘MAT’.

    A bigger MINI, is already

    • HERR26

      The MINI (MAT) is the genesis of the Spacebox concept – some have dubbed MINI caveman because of it’s “cavernous” space in the interior (hah-hah) . But if you want to give it it’s final market term it will be called the MINI Traveller – It’s an ingenious concept – a MINI with more passenger flexibility. It is effectively a larger Clubman , with the next Clubman taking on a more sporting “Shooting Brake” style.

      The MINI Paceman has developed into a more sportier looking vehicle with rear hinged “activity” doors making the car a full five door. but still keeping that dynamic sloping roof at the rear. The front of the car has changed and is following the next generation of MINI’s with the headlights for example instead of the placement on the front wings or slightly pushed in on the R56. The next generation of MINI illustrates it’s evolutionary traits by having them cut into the front of the car and raked further into the wings to give a really sporty impression. 

      Having seen the F56 MINI up close in it’s camouflaged disguise. There is a lot of the car hidden behind fake vacumned plastic panels which is then covered by the camouflage. The roof is actually from the R56 this is evident by looking at the A-pillars. Only the top half of the grille can be seen as it is much larger and protrudes further into the bumper. The rear of the car is also cleverly disguised especially the rubber tubing concealing the hatch, which is more wrapped around the C-Pillar than  before.

      If you look at the pictures especially around the repeater/fake intake/insignia on the side you can see that MINI for the first time receives some creases and a character line that will run through the doors and disappear before the c-pillar. 

      • jeff

        let’s get some sketches of the traveller, clubman II, and paceman!

      • Nick Dawson

        Thank you for the update. The MINI ‘MAT’ Traveller sounds a brilliant little car and should be hugely attractive in the global market place. Do you know yet if it is to get the proposed sliding rear side doors?

        I am pleased to hear that the production ‘Paceman’ will be getting an F56 style front, which will keep it looking fresh for several years. Do you know if it will keep the horizontal rear lights shown on the concept model?

        • Herr26

          My Blog over @ german Car Forum, has an update on the Gen 3 MINI including a breakdown on the look of the car .

          The Paceman is sort of MINI’s answer to the stylish attraction of the Land Rover Evoque , but the MINI will be far more responsible in market price.

          It is small , extremely sporty looking with that dynamically raked roof and front end. Very taut and solid .

        • Really?

          (in Goldmember’s voice) “very taut”


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