It was almost impossible to ignore the snickering when MINI unveiled its third-generation Cooper and Cooper S during the L.A. Auto Show. A bigger MINI?
Moving to the new ULK1 platform, MINI and BMW are set to share the underpinnings between the Cooper and upcoming 1 Series. But the most apparent change was something in plain view: its size. Pushing the boundaries of its name, the brand made its city-friendly car larger. The move opens doors for more than cheap humor, too. The brand would like to build a smaller vehicle like the Rocketman, although that isn’t likely to happen without another brand to split research and development costs.
But the brand might also be considering a larger model, as strange as that may seem. The Countryman proved to be a sales success, and marketing boss Ian Robertson tells AutoCar that there are opportunities in the small car segment because of how quickly it is expanding.
He doesn’t think the brand can break out of its small car niche, but said “…so long as we remain true to the principles of it being very much an urban car, with a good turning circle, a decent size to park and so on then I think there are areas we can explore.”
The current Countryman measures about 162 inches in overall length, and Robertson said a MINI-branded product five meters long (about 196 inches) would probably be too big.
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