At least that’s what Helen Walters at wonders.

>Still, I can’t help but wonder about initiatives like this. Given the economic environment and the grim news coming from the auto industry writ such large, one-off projects seem ripe to be filed under “nice but unnecessary.” BMW recently laid off 850 Mini workers from its Cowley plant in the UK, and Mini sales were down 35% in January compared to the year before, according to the AP.

An interesting point.

>Concepts are certainly part and parcel of the auto design world. But this was strictly a one-off. “It is through concept studies like these that we communicate our MINI brand values of cool, out of the box thinking,” wrote a BMW spokeswoman in an email. In other words, it’s just for buzz.

Personally, I think now is exactly the right time to keep the buzz going. There is bound to come a time when people start spending money again, especially on cars and now is the time to keep the Brand on the minds of potential buyers with projects like this.

[ BMW Mini + Airstream = Mistimed? ]