We Hear: Mini Ditches Plans for a Seven-Passenger SUV
Mini’s third-generation lineup hasn’t even reach showrooms, but there’s already some back-and-forth about the fourth-gen portfolio. Most notable is whether or not Mini should build a seven-seater people-mover that would slot above the Countryman crossover, making it the largest vehicle offered in the automaker’s history. Chief Designer Anders Warming, however, says that plans for the large SUV have been scrapped.
“We won’t build anything bigger than the Countryman, not at this moment,” Warming said in an interview with Auto Express. “You should be able to park a Mini in a city, so a Countryman or this new Clubman is as big as it should be.”
He points out that the Clubman concept revealed at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show is larger than the current model, and says that the automaker will focus “more on the individual characters of the cars” rather than the size. And while the large crossover has been nixed, Warming says Mini is still considering a production version of the Rocketman concept, a truly mini-sized coupe that the automaker unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. “We still have to make ends meet on that one -- it’s a numbers game,” he told Auto Express.
Talks of a large SUV surfaced as recently as last month when BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Autocar that he would like to see a seven-passenger crossover to act as one of Mini’s “hero cars” in a lineup that would be reduced to about four or five vehicles. He also echoed Warming’s comments regarding character, stating that each model must have Mini’s “trademark personality, style, and go-kart handling.”
For now, Mini is hard at work launching the third-generation lineup, starting with the 2014 Cooper Hardtop that is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this spring. The convertible version should follow next, likely in time for summer.
Source: Auto Express