News from Autocar this morning should make a few MINI enthusiasts smile this morning. MINI product chief Ralph Mahler said the firm was looking at whether a small car “can be a possibility or not” and Mini had “nothing against” making a smaller model such as the Rocketman in the future.
When it was introduced as a concept there was a lot of internal enthusiasm from MINI that it could be made. However the inability to find a suitable platform has held back the small car.
However, Mahler hinted that the rise of electric technology meant the Rocketman could make production as an electric only model, because it was easier on a car with a small footprint to package electric components than conventional ones.
“The Rocketman is inspiring us as of today, especially as an EV in the future,” he said.
“It was something that was ahead of its time but is still inspiring. With a smaller car, it’s a bigger challenge. With Rocketman, and talking EV in the future, as the EV engine gets more portable, it’s give and take [as to whether it is possible to make such a small car].”
Options include raiding the BMWi parts bin or partnering with Toyota and taking advantage of it’s recent Daihatsu acquisition.
The MINI Superleggera Still on the Table
The Superleggera was a collaboration between MINI and coachbuilder Touring Superleggera and previewed new design language in the F56 generation of cars. While production was considered a long-shot,
However, the concept car has proven such a hit that MINI is still looking at ways to put it into production. Mahler described it as “the second concept that’s inspiring us at the moment”.
There had been “very positive feedback on the car,” he said, but the “roadster segment is small and demand is going down, with new markets opening up. The growth is not there, so it’s always a challenge”.
Mahler added: “It fits perfectly into the brand, but we’re a small [on sales volume] car brand and have to be focused and know what we want to have. The Superleggera is playing a role but no decisions.”
Look for a new MINI concept this June as part of BMW’s centenary celebrations. According to MINI it will showcase the next century of car personalization