MINI Designer: MINI Models Don’t Need to be Small Anymore

Cardvice caught up with Florian Nissl (project lead on exteriors at MINI Design) and spoke a bit about MINI’s growing size. The key topic was size and how MINI as a brand doesn’t necessarily need to only produce small cars.

“I think that once you get familiar with the idea that Mini is a brand that doesn’t necessarily offer cars that are ‘mini’ because the name says ‘Mini’, then I think you start to realise, at least that’s it for me, that you can do a lot with the brand really because it’s very strong from a design point of view. It’s very flexible and so on and that’s very exciting really.”

MINI design

“There is a lot of positive chances in there to create new products and cater for a new experiences. So for example, when we designed the Vision Next 100, we really tried to take a lot of that into account and into consideration and try to really strip down the design, [but] we stayed very true to the [original] design,” he continued.

“From my point of view it worked. The car gives you still the impression it’s a Mini, but it’s a completely different design then what we have now in the suite. So it shows you what you can do with the design language and the brand in retrospect.”

“We even changed the proportion of the car, and again it still works as a Mini. So therefore it shows how much flexibility there is, in terms of its design,” Nissl added.

Does MINI need to be only be mini anymore? Can the brand extend into larger vehicles without confusing consumers and muddying what the brand stands for? Let us know below.

  • Reuben Herries

    can you tell the public that….

  • AnthLC

    So wrong needs to be sacked, the F56 is as big as a Mini should get any bigger and I am changing brands

    • Eric

      If Mini loses 1 “has-been” customer when it gains 2, it is good 🙂

      • AnthLC

        Define “mini” denoting a miniature version of something.

        You comment reflects the definition correctly if I consider your ego, or trolling. But doesn’t alter the fact a Mini needs to be mini.

        This BMW designer should be sacked for heresy or rightly proclaimed an idiot.

        Super sizing is simply wrong.

        • Eric

          I feel your bitterness but you do not have the monopoly to know what MINI should do or not do. If overall sales are better year after year for almost 20 years, maybe MINI knows its job lol

        • ulrichd

          Maybe they’ll introduce a pick-up, super size the Countryman and ditch the hatch.

        • Nick Dawson

          CAR Magazine is reporting in its August monthly column ‘Juicy Gossip from the CAR grapevine’, that it has been “working its sources in Beijing to spill the beans” on the standalone pure EV baby Mini, which at 3,400mm long puts the same size as the Rocketman city car concept.

          I have attached below a scanned copy of the column. Make of it what you will.

    • Money

      I think the Hardtop should stay the same size. However, I could see the Countryman and Clubman(or even better, a 4 door coupe version of the Countryman) getting larger than today while still being space efficient. MINI has to move with the times to stay viable. Stateside, the compact car market is shrinking and has been for awhile. Sometimes you have to step out of the box like the 1st Countryman…

  • Jon A

    One has to read between the lines to really understand the gist of his message which is BMW is requiring MINI to platform share because the business case for unique MINI platforms is untenable. As BMWs grow MINIs will grow and will share more and more BMW platforms. However I do tend to disagree with him in some ways. As the global population increases urbanization will grow as well. This will in my mind bring back the notion of package efficient, smaller (not tiny) vehicles which was the reason for Mini to exist in the first place. On the other hand, I see what he’s going on about and he is right. Proportion and scale, from a design perspective, is key to design language and if properly executed the MINI DNA will remain intact. It will have evolved but it will be there. This, of course, opens up more fundamental questions about what MINI-ness really embodies like driving experience, etc.

  • Nick Dawson

    MINI must be doing something right – as each generation has been getting bigger, so by and large have global sales, especially since the launch of the F-series range:

    2002: 144,119 2003: 176,465 2004: 184,357 2005: 200,428 2006: 188,077 2007: 222,875 2008: 232,425 2009: 216,538 2010: 234,175 2011: 285,060 2012: 301,526 2013: 305,030 2014: 302,183 2015: 338,466 2016: 360,233 2017: 371,881 2018: 181,430 YTD 2017: 181,214 YTD

  • Mr Remi

    Capitalist: whatever sells well with a MINI logo on it is a MINI.

    Nostalgist: if it’s small in its class, it’s MINI.

    Hand-cuffed Designer: if it retains proportional relationships between vehicle components, it’s still MINI.

    Pragmatist: if it can use the BMW platform, MINI still is.

    • Nick Dawson

      Many a true word spoken in jest 🙂

      Nonetheless, we shouldn’t forget that the first generation R-series MINIs made no decent money for BMW, the second generation R-series only made a profit thanks to the success of the R60 Countryman, and the third generation F-series MINI has been a nice little earner courtesy of BMW’s UKL scaleable platform and drivetrain. The development of the fourth generation G-series all-electric MINI Metro platform will, subject to approval, be a joint venture with Great Wall Motor in China.