The MINI craze has continued here in the States and abroad, which is pretty impressive for a car that is smaller than most on the market in the U.S. That said, we are a little surprised to hear again that MINI might be working on an even smaller, micro car. USA TOADAY, reported today on AutoWeek coverage of the new project that is being dubbed the “Mini Mini.” So what’s the deal? Let’s check it out.
According to the article in USA TODAY, a new micro MINI could show up at next years Geneva Motor Show. Of course, the automotive industry is always full of speculation, but to see something reported in a mainstream source like USA TODAY and AutoWeek caught our attention. The last micro car concept from MINI was back in 1997 and looks similar to today’s Mitsubishi i-MiEV or Toytoa’s IQ. Obviously, the car didn’t take off, but today we are told that the new prototype is underway at the BMW site in Munich.
Due to safety regulations it is most likely that the new prototype would be a Smart car like two-seater (see our Great Smart Road Trip). "The idea to create a highly compact Mini model is one that has been on the agenda for quite a while," a source told AutoWeek. Concerns about the profitability of such a car could be the final determining factor. We know MINI can make a winner of a small car, but even the MINI is quite large compared to micro cars like the Smart, Tata or even the i-MiEV. Another interesting point is that USA TODAY couldn’t independently confirm the source that spoke to AutoWeek, so this begs the question: Is it fact or fiction?
Our bet: MINI isn’t sitting on its laurels and it probably sees a logical niche in the micro car market for the MINI brand. However, the USA market most likely wouldn’t support such a small car as even the Smart car sales have dwindled since gas prices have stayed near the reasonable mark. If MINI chooses to build a micro car, our bet is that it would only be see in emerging markets and possibly Europe.
[Source: USA TODAY]