That great bastion of automotive news CNN.com (yes that’s sarcasm) takes a stab at the future of MINI model development in today’s edition. Here’s an excerpt:
The new lineup could include a station wagon or an off-roader. Maybe a two-seater. Whatever form it takes, additions will be small — you can count on that.
Mini’s current model, the Cooper, is already set for a redesign next year. Don’t expect major changes, but one reason for the redesign is to give the car more flexible engineering that could be easily adapted to different body styles.
BMW, Mini’s parent company, originally expected to sell 20,000 Mini Coopers a year in the United States, according to a recent story in Automotive News, an industry newspaper. Last year, 36,000 were sold here. The 100,000th Mini was sold in February, two years ahead of schedule.
…A likely next step is a longer Mini. The Mini Concept Frankfurt shown at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, was based on a 1970s version sold as the Clubman and the Traveller. It’s sort of a station wagon Mini. It’s still got just two doors, but it’s got more space in back for luggage and for rear-seat passengers.
“The Mini, in the classic sense, always had a Traveller or a Clubman version,” said Rich Steinberg, manager of product strategy for Mini.
The Concept Frankfurt has some styling cues that, company executives said, will appear on the next version of the Mini Cooper. The Concept Frankfurt is also a reminder that the original makers of Minis, had more tricks up their sleeve than just one little car.
[ Ready for a Mini SUV? ] CNN
Of course leave it to CNN to sex up the title and imply that an SUV is imminent. As most MotoringFile readers probably know, MINI has plans for an extended wheelbase MINI, but a taller off-road like vehicle is probably unlikely in the near future.