Yesterday the typically reliable Car magazine indicated that MINI’s Superleggera Roadster concept had been approved for a 2018 production date. Today the typically reliable Automotive News says not so fast. According to the industry publication:
BMW has not approved a roadster based on the Superleggera concept for its Mini brand and has not decided whether to add a “mini Mini” that would be built with Toyota, Mini’s top executive, Peter Schwarzenbauer, said.
Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of Mini, said the Superleggera would be a “great addition to the Mini range” but added: “I cannot confirm that it has been approved yet.”
Reportedly Schwarzenbauer is “still pushing” to get the Superleggera into production. Avery good sign considering he is ultimately responsible for the brand.
Our take on this is simple. Given the language here we would expect that the Superleggera is currently undergoing final engineering and sales feasibility studies that should support the case for product. Expect to hear more shortly.
The MINI Minor’s Future Uncertain While The Future of Electrification is Bright
According to the same article MINI has not decided whether to add a “mini Mini” that would be built with Toyota. However what is mentioned is the need for the brand to offer an electric vehicle.
Schwarzenbauer also said that Mini needs an electric variant because it is an urban brand and EVs are most suitable for cities. “Electrification of Mini is very important. We are working on that, but I cannot confirm when and what,” he said.
Mini needs to find a spot for an EV battery pack that is not in the trunk or in the engine bay. “Finding available space in a car as small as the Mini is not easy,” Schwarzenbauer said
Given the language here we can’t help but wonder if the MINI Minor might get shelved in favor of a larger fully electric version of an existing car such as the soon to be released Clubman. Of all MINIs it stands a chance of having the room for a battery pack while appealing to a wide number of consumers. We know that MINI has been working on a plugin hybrid version of the Clubman and potentially the Countryman for quite some time. A full electric version would seem like a natural next step.