MINI confirms Scooter E just a concept. No production plans.

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The 2010 Paris Motor Show was a big event for scooter lovers and gadget nerds alike. It saw a number of futuristic design explorations, and two in particular were of note for scooter fans. Both Smart and MINI each came to the show with a small-frame scooter concept. Both machines were electric, both were futuristic in their design, and both inspired considerable enthusiasm from fans of their respective brands.

The burning question for Smart, MINI and scooter fans alike following the 2010 Paris Motor show was when would we see production versions of either machine? Up to now, that question had only been half answered. ScooterFile has reported that not only is Smart planning to produce their eScooter concept, but they’re partnering with Vectrix to do so. MINI has, to date, not made any official announcements regarding the production of their Scooter E concept. So when I had the opportunity to sit down with MINI executives this week at the North American International Auto Show press preview, I couldn’t not ask about the Scooter E. Sadly, I didn’t get the answer so many MINI and scooter fans were hoping for.

The response from MINI is that they’re going to “remain focused on building cars.” Does that mean a MINI scooter will never happen in the eternal future? No. Anything is possible. It does, however, mean that MINI isn’t even thinking about that little concept vehicle they showed in Paris three years ago. Really, this isn’t particularly surprising. MINI has bigger fish to fry. The brand is busy expanding their lineup with vehicles like the Paceman, busy putting the finishing touches on the F56, and busy growing the John Cooper Works performance brand; which is center stage in Detroit this week.

It’s a disappointment for sure, as the MINI Scooter E was an imaginative expression of the MINI brand. I don’t think any of us expected it to actually go into real production, yet I would have loved to see even a limited production run, even if they’d been prohibitively expensive. If nothing else, I take comfort knowing that BMW Group does a great job preserving these kinds of projects for future appreciation. So while the MINI Scooter E will probably never pop up on the streets of London, it will at least likely someday occupy a space in the BMW Group museum in Munich.

On a more personal note, the MINI Scooter E has specific importance in the origin of ScooterFile. When the concept debuted in 2010, I’d just begun my role here as Senior Editor at MotoringFile> and I covered the concept unveil and subsequent details for MotoringFile at that time. It was during that coverage that I had the original idea for ScooterFile. The thought was, what if there were a site like MotoringFile, but for scooter fans? I registered the domain that day, and though it was a couple years before ScooterFile got off the ground, it’s fun to look back and let our readers know that if it weren’t for this fun MINI scooter concept, there’d probably be no ScooterFile. You lose some. You win some.

What did you think of the MINI Scooter E concept? Would you have bought one? Is anyone excited about the likely upcoming BMW electric C-class scooter? Sound off in the comments. You can also check out all the 2010 coverage of the MINI Scooter E concept here on MotoringFile.

  • Alcedine

    I was ready to buy one the day they launched! Super disapointed to hear this… but then, I suppose I’m not really surprised. Fingers crossed that they change their minds sometime in the future!

  • Dr Obnxs

    This is actually good news. Success is based on focused execution of the mission, and the scooter wasn’t going to really provide return on efforts for the MINI brand. If they want the product, doing what Smart did and farming it out would be the only way it would make any sense at all.

    The claim that brand loyalty extends from a two wheeled offering to a four wheeled offering is dubious at best. (I owned two Honda motorcycles before I bought a new car, and buying a Honda because I’d liked my 650 Nighthawk just didn’t ever enter my mind.) So selling the scooter to the urban cool (what they were marketing to) to generate brand loyalty that would ultimately result in more car sales was a serious reach. I’m guessing that BMW already knows this because they already sell motorcycles and cars….

    Really, the only options MINI had was to make a scooter with no economies of scale and hence a premium priced product (read low sales), or a rebadged or semi-custom scooter from a larger manufacturer and have a product that isn’t anything special, but has MINI badges all over it. This MIGHT be economically viable depending on the details, but all the stars would have to align for it to be both a winning product AND a commercial success.

    Instead, they took the smart path: focus the money on making cars, and keep harvesting whatever press the can from the concepts.

    For those that REALLY, REALLY want a MINI scooter, buy a scooter of your choice that fits your needs, and then customize it to your vision of a MINI scooter. It would probably cost about the same amount anyway….