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Rocketman Neither Living Nor Dead

The MINI Rocketman/MINI CITY is a concept that just won’t die, yet it’s also a car that might not actually live to see production. We’ve gotten conflicting reports since the Rocketman Concept’s debut that the diminutive MINI both would and wouldn’t see real world production. Various people in leadership, including MINI’s top man, Dr. Kay Segler, have expressed a very strong desire to see the little MINI on the city streets near you, yet we also know that the car isn’t in the current product roadmap recently approved by the BMW board. Inquiring minds want to know will this car get built or won’t it? Now we have some clarity from Sven Grutzmacher, BMW Group press spokesman at the recent press launch of the MINI Roadster. Well, sort of.

“…there was never a decision whether we [would] build such a car or not. So nothing is changed on that front, so you cannot say the Rocketman is dead, or that the Rocketman is going to come into production because there has never been a decision.”

So according to Grutzmacher, the Rocketman concept is neither living nor dead — but rather the proverbial zombie car ready to rise in the night and feast upon the ECUs of innocent Smarts and Fiats. While his statement gives us hope that the MINI CITY may someday be a reality, it doesn’t actually give us any closure one way or the other. The Rocketman remains in limbo, where apparently it’s been all along.

[Source: Drive]

Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • Steve R

    YAY! My next car. (and please keep the name!)

  • tec

    All the Mini concepts sooner or later gets real.

    We have to wait until the Genevre Motor Show to see what will happen.

    • Anonymous

      space box with multi paned “cooling” roof is my guess.

  • Anonymous

    “Neither Living Nor Dead”

    a zombie?

    • Big Jack

       More like Schrodinger’s cat.

    • Gary

      More like a Ringwraith.

  • Anonymous

    For the life of me I really don’t understand what anyone sees in this thing? Gad!

  • Anonymous

    For the life of me I really don’t understand what anyone sees in this thing? Gad!

  • Gerarddm

    That door is too precious by half. Jeesh.

  • otter

    I have said this before, if MINI were to put something this cute on the road and (this is a big and) it had a big performance bite (think of the Hayabusa powered smart car) MINI would have a legend and I would have my next car.

  • Mixalis

    my next car too….i want it with a ‘spartan-like’ minimal  interior….

  • b-

    It is a concept, nothing more.  Will design cues be taken from it for future cars, yes.  The Headlights are already reported to be on the F56, in some form.  Will MINI make a carbon fiber car, in the future, yes but not now.  The LFA comes to mind sure, it is a beautiful work of Carbon but at what price?  The economics of scale won’t even work to make this car affordable just yet.

  • Bob Hayhurst

    No doubt Mr. Grutzmacher has added yet another layer to this story.

    If the the BMW board has not elected to fund this project then I can’t see it becoming a reality in the forseeable future. period.

    l’m sad to see it go but I can easily imagine that some of the design ideas will show up on production vehicles in coming years.

    While I like to see the MINI family grow, this story needs some finality. The phase, “Nein, absolut nicht, unter keinen Umstanden” needs to be said by someone (who speaks Deutsche) and send the Rocketman on it’s way…   

  • Doug B

    C’mon MINI: build it! (and bring it to the States)

  • Aurel

    setup a Kickstarter page?

    • Robert Ballard

      Set up a drop kick page I say.

  • Herr26

    There is still periods of deliberation. One thing that will survive from the Rocketman is its genetics. As BMW are currently deliberating over an i1 which will be a small electric urban city car for two. Again extensive use on CFRP using the same methods as the MINI Rocketman Concept especially with the CFRP floor and body interpreting the BMWi philosophy. Although market launch projections for an i1 type vehicle will be near the end of this decade.

    It is possible that a Rocketman in the future can be shared when BMW has better economies of scale in CFRP production – emphasis on the word future. But as a modern day project , no one would pay a high price for a MINI Rocketman over the MINI hatch.

    Despite its on-hold stasis the productionised version of the Rocketman which would be more conventional than the Concept Car has a lot of fans even so some that are burning the midnight oil trying to make a current day Rocketman conceivable some think this is the car MINI needs.  

    • b-

      Kind of like I said but I don’t have all the inside information like you do!

  • Lemelou

    I feel this concept is way too ahead of the market to be of any real commercial interest. It is probably two model generations too fast. Mini’s a brand that has the right to be ‘out there’, but just not now.

    • Anonymous

      BMW is building the i3 which will be the first CFRP mass produced electric vehicle at a decent price point. Once economies of scale are reached and the BMW SGL joint venture is churning out CF at a good clip the Rocketman will make more sense- The first step though is making CFRP become more mainstream and reaching a point where construction is cheaper. They now have the ability through patented processes to make parts faster and cheaper so that is a start. I would expect to see the use of CFRP in almost all BMW MINI vehicles with the intro of the next generations, Fenders and roofs mainly.

  • otter

    If carbon fiber is the primary cost issue with the Rocketman they could just make it (or something similar) out of metal, I wouldn’t mind.  Frankly I was assuming that it would have been stamped steel and molded plastics if it went to production anyway.

    • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com Nathaniel Salzman

      It’s not just the carbon fiber. It’s a whole new platform to build a car that size.

  • otter

    I realize that the platform, and every other aspect, would be costly; I just want to see this thing on the road, with me behind the wheel. Perhaps they could buy the Toyota iQ, stretch it out by a few inches, give it a real engine, transmission, suspension, and bolt the Rocketman panels on it.  Hopefully I will find the f56 to be as appealing, the extra door bit really scares me though.

    • Bob Hayhurst

      …you’re working hard brother; I’m pulling for you… :)

      • otter

        Thanks Bob.

  • SomewhereNorth

    So, it’s not alive, and it’s not dead.  Is it un-dead?  Are those zombie eyes?

  • Anonymous

    long live the Zombieman.


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