We’re experiencing some serious déjà vu here at MotoringFile headquarters. We reported as far back as early 2006 that BMW had plans for the Triumph brand. At the time it was for a two seat roadster based on the MINI platform that never saw the light of day (or did it?). Now AutoCar.co.uk is reporting that there’s life yet in the classic British brand.
For those who are new to the history of Mini, BWM acquired MINI, Triumph, MG and a handful of other marques in its purchase of Rover in the mid 1990s. Early Triumph rumors centered around the brand coming back as a front wheel drive roadster. A car that either became the MINI roadster or (ironically) the MINI Coupe. Now there are reports that BMW has quietly applied to use the laurel wreath badge on a wide range of goods. Aside from vehicles, the application covers jewellery, watches, books, leather goods, luggage, cleaning materials, textiles and even Christmas tree decorations. Sounds a lot like the range of MINI accessories doesn’t it? And since BMW isn’t in the business of bringing back dead brands to make Christmas tree ornaments we suspect that they are seriously looking at reviving the brand to bolster BMW’s offerings in the lower part of the market.
More specifically BMW needs more volume out of its front wheel drive platforms for them to get the buying power that companies like VW and Ford get. Do you want a dual clutch transmission in the MINI? Than BMW needs to be able to guarantee millions sold to get the price down to appropriate levels. Want a 250 hp JCW? Again it all comes down to volume that drive prices down and makes them viable. And that’s where we believe Triumph enters.
Why now and not the middle of the last decade? BMW’s front wheel drive plans are fully formed and just a year away from bearing their first fruits with the UKL based BMW 1 Series GT. After that we get the 3rd generation MINI and then the entire MINI line slowly turns over. Within that time-frame we could imagine BMW reviving and using the Triumph name to sell a product to the masses brings a new angle on the same front wheel drive three cylinder formula that will be a mainstay of the UKL front wheel drive platform.
What about the Saab rumors? We’d be surprised if the two aren’t connected in some way. Stay tuned.