In our recent conversation with Oliver Heilmer he spoke about the future of the brand in regards to sustainability and how that is influencing future design decisions. In an interview with Autocar this week he’s gone further and given us some details of how future MINIs will change one long held tradition in the automotive world; leather interiors.
We’ve heard veiled comments previously about less leather in future MINIs but this is the first time that anyone from MINI go on record with such specificity. Put plainly MINI plans to eliminate leather in future models. When leather options will be phased out is still unclear but much like the brand eventually going all electric, it will also go all vegan.
Heilmer explained; “we don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable,” he said. “We’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather.”
Perhaps inspired by BMW’s i3, MINI has quietly been altering materials for years in an effort to be more sustainable.
“The fabric in the production seats is now 100% recycled,’ Heilmer explained. The lining underneath is 70% recycled. We’re looking to create a timeless design. A one-season design, like fashion, isn’t our aim with the design of future Minis. It’s inventive simplicity. Materials will be recycled, but they’re luxurious at the same time. And inventive in terms of function. For instance, we used cork in the Urbanaut [concept]. The aesthetics will be coming more from a home perspective, rather than an automotive one.”
Look for these changes to begin with the next generation MINI range that debuts in late 2023.