The rumors are true and today MINI is ready talk about them. MINI has officially announced several new products and a key new strategy that will see increase diversification of products and more electrification across the range. In short the brand is going both smaller, larger and more electric.
MINI is planning to offer several new electric MINIs including the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover around the size of the current four door F55 and an all electric crossover (likely a variant of the next generation Countryman).
Crucially MINI intends to still offer conventional internal combustion engines in both it’s small car range and in at least one crossover – likely the next generation Countryman. This move is in response to the differing customer needs seen in North America and elsewhere.
More Crossovers Are Coming
MINI is going to add another crossover to the line-up in the form of a small electric offering. The move is intended to likely appeal to the European and Chinese and offer MINI an entry into what will likely be a high growth area. Rumors point to the size being similar to the current generation F55 four door hatch. This will be the one Chinese built MINI that is planned to be sold globally.
Additionally MINI will be redesigning the Countryman from the grown-up to offer internal combustion, hybrid and full electric options. Also worth noting that there have been several sources that have pointed to MINI increasing the size of the Countryman to better appeal to the North American market – the product’s largest.
Not mentioned here but previously hinted at is a third, larger crossover powered by an internal combustion engine and based on an existing BMW platform. It’s unclear whether that’s the front wheel drive FAAR or the rear wheel drive CLAAR platform but the latter has been rumored. To give you an idea of size of a CLAAR based crossover, that’s the platform that underpins the X3. As a larger rear wheel drive based platform, it would be the biggest departure yet from MINI’s original concept. Whatever platform is used, the expectation is that this product (potentially to be called the Traveler) will be several feet longer than the Countryman and could even seat seven.
How could anything so large be called a MINI? Like the Countryman, MINI is looking to retain its brand identity by always being the smallest product in each category.
Next Generation MINI Hatch & Convertible
The big news that is finally confirmed here is that BMW is indeed moving forward with a petrol powered 4th generation MINI. Rumors point to the follow-up to the F56 being more compact while losing none of the interior volume of the current car. Even better MINI is going on record in saying the interior experience will be totally different than anything we’ve ever see from the brand.
The G56 (likely code-name) will reach UK showrooms towards the end of 2022, nine years after the F56 was introduced. Under the hood will be a variety of powertrains including a new 48v mild-hybrid petrol engine with a particulate filter and functions such as automatic engine shutdown, coasting and brake energy recuperation. It will form the basis of the One, Cooper and Cooper S drivetrains.
According to rumors the new hatch will be more evolutionary than revolutionary on the outside but will include several key changes. First and foremost the wheelbase will grow and the front overhang will shrink to the delight of MINI fans worldwide. There will be an evolution of MINI’s traditional design elements including the hexagonal grille, round headlights and ‘floating’ roof.
But it’s the shortened overhang that will be the biggest change giving the car a more traditional MINI-like appearance.
The interior will move away from the retro look of all recent models and instead will offer a much more modern approach.
According to Oliver Heilmer, head of Mini design, “A central issue here is interaction and this is something we have to shape. One approach for Mini would be to push the technology required into the background. There is a big opportunity but also a major challenge.”
Previously MINI had confirmed there will be a 4th generation convertible and five door, mirroring the current line-up.
Look for the next generation MINI Cooper to debut sometime in the second half of 2022 with an on sale date of Q4 2022 for Europe and Q1 2023 in North America.
Emphasis on China
MINI is still on track to shift some production to China via a collaboration with Great Wall Motors. So important is this market that MINI has co-developed a new vehicle architecture with GWM designed from the ground-up to be electric only. The expectation is that these vehicles will be designed for China and built in China only.
The British premium automobile manufacturer MINI is driving forward with the realignment of its model range, with a clear focus on drivetrain technologies, vehicle segments and services of the future.
At the centre of this realignment is the expansion of electromobility, enhanced commitment in the crossover and premium compact segments and strengthening of the market position in China. “MINI was always the answer to very special challenges relating to individual mobility. And the willingness to reinvent the status quo continues to shape the brand to this day,” commented Bernd Körber, Head of MINI. “Alongside electromobility, harnessing new target groups and sales markets will be crucially important for the future of MINI.”
20 years have now passed since the premiere of the second MINI generation after the relaunch of the traditional British heritage brand. Since then around four million vehicles of the brand have been produced at the MINI plant in Oxford and delivered to more than 100 countries all over the world. Customer needs and wishes have defined the development of the MINI model range over the past two decades. In 2015, the new MINI Clubman spearheaded the successful move into the premium compact segment and two years later this was continued with the new MINI Countryman. Around 40 percent of all the brand’s vehicles sold across the world are in this vehicle class. In addition, the MINI range is now broader than ever before. Currently, the extreme sport John Cooper Works models make up around five percent of total sales for the MINI brand, whilst the electrified models are steadily gaining in popularity.
The fun of driving combined with efficiency are deeply rooted within the tradition of the British brand and define the core of MINI. The classic Mini, introduced 61 years ago, was not only characterized by revolutionary space economy, but also by an economic drive with sporting potential. The second generation of MINI, introduced in 2000, optimised the relationship between fun driving and fuel consumption, including the introduction of diesel engines. In 2008, MINI was a trailblazer for electromobility in the BMW Group. The MINI E was produced in a small series and used in a field trial to gather important insights into the use of an all-electric car in everyday traffic.
Now, emission-free mobility has been firmly established in the model range and in the MINI community. With the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid alone, (combined fuel consumption: 2.0 – 1.7 l/100 km; combined electricity consumption: 14.0 – 13.1 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 45 – 40 g/km), vehicles with electrified drive accounted for five percent of the brand’s total sales in 2019. Following the launch of the MINI Electric (combined fuel consumption: 0.0 l/100 km; combined electricity consumption: 16.8 – 14.8 kWh/ 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km), this rate has doubled to ten percent of all new registrations for the brand.
Highly efficient combustion engines and additional electric vehicles from MINI facilitate the “Power of Choice”.
In future, MINI will enable customers all over the world to have emission-free driving with a completely electrified model family. At the same time, MINI will still offer highly efficient petrol and diesel engines, which continue be an ideal solution for target groups and regions whose mobility needs are not yet me by all-electric vehicles.
“We are pursuing the Power of Choice approach followed by the BMW Group through our broad range of advanced petrol and diesel engines, the plug-in hybrid system and all-electric drive, in order to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers throughout the world,” highlighted Bernd Körber. “This enables us to create the conditions for further growth in global automobile markets.”
The future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the MINI 3-Door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small-car segment and a compact crossover model. The brand’s small-car models and a crossover model in the compact segment will be available to choose from with conventional internal combustion engines.
New MINI models in the crossover and premium compact segment.
To further benefit from the worldwide growth in the crossover market, MINI is focusing on an expansion of the product range in this vehicle segment which is specifically geared towards customer requirements.
The successful MINI Countryman will be joined by another crossover model for the small-car segment, which will be supplied exclusively with an all-electric drive. In addition, the next generation of MINI Countryman will be available with both combustion engines and an electrified drivetrain, meeting the different requirements of customers all over the world.
The ongoing development of the MINI product range provides the opportunity to meet the increased demands of many customers in terms of space and versatility, with an additional model for the premium compact segment. The principle of creative use of space that is implemented in every MINI will be preserved. Irrespective of its concept, its vehicle class or drive type, every new model of the brand will continue to be a typical MINI, with a maximum of interior space, exciting drive and individuality, achieved on the smallest footprint amongst its competitors.
“It is part of our responsibility to the brand and the community to preserve the unique character of MINI,” says Bernd Körber. “That is why every new model from our brand in future will be unmistakably a MINI.”
Increased commitment to the automotive market in China.
The world’s largest automotive market in China continues to grow dynamically and will become even more important for MINI in future. Currently, around ten percent of all new vehicles produced for the brand are delivered to customers in China. To share in the positive development of the market and sell a significantly higher number of vehicles in China, MINI will soon change its status as an import brand, to a locally producing automotive supplier.
Based on a new vehicle architecture, developed from the ground up for pure e-mobility, battery-electric vehicles will be produced in China from 2023, in cooperation with the local manufacturer Great Wall Motor. This venture will enable MINI to meet the rising demand for emission-free driving both in China and in the other global markets. Cooperation with the Chinese partner will be based on a clearly defined principle: Production follows the market. With locally manufactured vehicles MINI will serve the growing Chinese automotive market whilst maintaining stable production at other locations.