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MINI will unveil a new concept car at the Geneva Auto Show next March that will foreshadow a future model to slot in underneath the current Cooper range and compete with the likes of the Smart fortwo and Toyota iQ. Possibly called the MINI Minor, the concept car will be based on a shortened version of the current hatchback platform, although it’s not known if a production model would continue to use such a layout. The car wouldn’t be a four-seater, either (not that the current MINI really is anyway), but instead either offer just two seats, or a 3-seat layout like the iQ.
Along with showcasing a potential new vehicle, MINI will use the Minor concept to introduce a new gasoline engine (possibly the 3-cylinder powerplant expected to be offered in the next MINI Cooper). It will also give a hint at MINI’s future design direction. But don’t expect any major chances, as MINI is expected to keep an evolutionary approach to its classic retro style.
After introducing a new crossover at the top-end of its lineup, MINI now appears to be readying a new entry-level model – reportedly referred to as the MINI Minor by BMW officials. Designed as a true city car, the new minier MINI would be built to compete against the Smart Fortwo and Toyota iQ models and would be comparible in size. In fact, this would give the car roughly the same footprint as the original MINI Cooper.
According to a report by AutoCar, MINI has long wanted to introduce a more compact model but struggled with how to make it profitable. Solutions to those problems may be had by looking at BMW’s upcoming Megacity car. Similar to the Megacity, the MINI city car would use traditional technology (rather than carbon fiber bodywork). It’s existence may also be the result of BMW’s push to develop three-cylinder engines. Reports have suggested the next generation of MINI Cooper models would use 3-cylinder engines, which could then also be used in a MINI city car, keeping development costs low and helping reduce production costs through economies of scale.
An inside source at the company told AutoCar that the mini car project hasn’t been given the green light just yet, but that a concept model could be shown in the next 12 months.