It's no surprise that MINI is interested in entering the market then. It's expected to do so with a vehicle like the 2012 MINI Clubvan Concept, seen here in our live photos from the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
While the Clubvan is labelled as a concept, a representative with the car on the MINI stand--whose appearance resembled an extra from Mary Poppins or Oliver Twist--seemed to hint that the car would see production.
Walking around the vehicle, it's clearly more production car than concept. Unlike some small vans but like all MINIs--and the Clubman the van is based on--it's beautifully-built and well-trimmed. This certainly isn't a van suited for builders and plumbers, but florists, art dealers and jewellers will love the flat, carpeted load area, and similarly-trimmed sides and headlining.
MINI hasn't confirmed an engine for the concept, but there are several options in the MINI range, including low-CO2, high-MPG diesels. On the European combined fuel cycle, the 1.6-liter, 112-horsepower turbodiesel is capable of over 60 MPG--so small business owners shouldn't find it hard to go green.
In the U.S. where larger vans are already fairly cheap, there's less demand for car-derived vans like the Clubvan. However, should MINI go ahead and release a production Clubvan, there's still a chance they'd introduce the model in the U.S, targeting small businesses looking to cut down on gas bills.
For more live photos from the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, head over to our dedicated show page.