Like their corporate parent BMW, Mini has been on an expansion binge in recent years, adding new cars and SUVs to their lineup as if the automobile itself is somehow on the way out and they need to make as much money as they can before they have to find new jobs. Now they're realizing they may have gone too far.
Edmunds reports that some of the Mini models may be on the chopping block in the next few years, and that some may not be replaced at all. Mini USA vice president Jim McDowell won't say which ones, obviously, but he did tell them that the brand's core models are the Cooper hardtop and the Countryman SUV.
The modern, BMW-owned version of Mini has only been around for about 12 years, and in that time they have expanded tremendously. Here's what McDowell said:
"When I joined Mini, we knew that we would have two models. Ultimately, we (now) have seven. We are starting the next generation a year from now. We know that we will have a pretty broad lineup. You may actually put your chess pieces on the board differently if you know that you can have seven."
But even if Mini is cutting back, there's no evidence that BMW will be doing so as well. Just look at the X4 Concept that dropped yesterday. Edmunds says the next round of Minis will be based on a BMW front-wheel-drive platform expected to underpin a full 11 Bimmers and Minis over the next few years.
Also, remember that Mini Rocketman concept we all wanted to see become a reality? Don't hold your breath for that one, apparently:
Asked if the popular Rocketman concept will be turned into a production car, McDowell said "it would require some componentry that we don't currently have." Additionally, Mini's "engine and transmission are too heavy for a car that short." The concept is about 135 inches long, nearly a foot shorter than the Mini Cooper Hardtop.
"It is not to say that we won't build it, but we can't confirm any plans to build it," McDowell said. "But a lot of the features that people really liked on the Rocketman are definitely coming on the next generation of Minis."
I think the safe thing to assume here is that Mini will trim their lineup to be primarily a brand of convertible SUVs. It's what the people want most.
What Mini models could you live without?