The demand for diesel MINIs in America, which have long been offered overseas, is growing. “We hear it from our dealers and our customers,” said McKenna, speaking to AutoGuide in Los Angeles last week.
Rather than the boiler plate “we don’t comment on future product” schpeel that questions about a MINI diesel might normally be rebutted with, McKenna spoke enthusiastically about diesel MINIs, their possible introduction to the North American marketplace and how well they suit the brand’s values.
Commenting that the company is, “still exploring” just how viable a business case diesel MINIs are, he revealed that it is, “in the realm of possibility with this car.”
Equally important is overcoming any perception that diesel engines aren’t suitable for the values of the MINI brand. “Diesel cars are very popular in Europe and in different parts of the world,” McKenna said. “I think it’s for the fuel savings but also for the torque characteristics,” he continued, adding that many people choose high-torque diesel engines for the, “fun to drive perspective.”
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But before a diesel model crosses the Atlantic, MINI will first introduce a plug-in hybrid. “We do have a plug-in hybrid in our future,” said McKenna. And while MINI has yet to confirm just which model in its lineup will receive electrification McKenna did reveal that the new hardtop’s platform, “can accommodate many different possibilities for alternative drivetrains.”
Will a conventional hybrid also be a part of MINI’s alternative fuel plans in America? “We haven’t ruled anything out,” he says, adding that the plug-in version is, “really just where we see the potential.”
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