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How Mini Is Too Mini? Profit Tough For BMW On Tinier Minicar


MINI Rocketman Concept

MINI Rocketman Concept

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When BMW launched the new MINI back in 2001, the U.S. market wondered if anyone could actually sell a car that small.

The proof has been in the pudding--the new MINI sold quite well--but the company hasn't stopped there, adding models left and right. 

Now, leave it to the folks over at MINI Central to come up with an even smaller version of the diminutive British revival. That would be the MINI Rocketman concept that debuted back in March at the Geneva Motor Show.

It is definitely small (some might say a Smart ForTwo competitor in the making), but the question is now: Will it or could it bring in the cash to support its launch?

MINI Rocketman Concept

MINI Rocketman Concept

Enlarge Photo

According to Automotive News, executives within BMW fear that this minicar just wouldn't return a profit. The problem seems to lie in the economies of scale, or lack of them. The Rocketman is only a little longer, at 132 inches, than the original MINI--and almost a foot shorter than the current MINI Cooper on sale today.

Add to the equation that the costs to produce both the Rocketman and the current MINI Cooper are similar, and you have a problem. The profit margin on the Rocketman would likely be minimal, because it would need to enter the market at a much lower price point than the current MINI.

BMW executives say it best, “It is not going to be easy to make a profitable business case out of the Rocketman.”

This might be the perfect example of having too much..er…too little of a good thing.

Despite earlier reports that the concept was headed for production, the bottom line is that BMW isn't ready to commit to producing the Rocketman.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]

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