2014 MINI Cooper S
The third-generation MINI has only just been launched, but that hasn't stopped parent company BMW commenting on what the next generation might hold.
Details of the models themselves are unlikely to arrive for many years--the current car has a whole lifecycle, including a mid-life refresh ahead of it.
But according to Autocar, the German automaker is said to be considering a slimmed-down range with the next generation car, instead of the rampant niche-filling of existing MINIs.
That could mean a range of just five models, rather than the seven of the outgoing model and up to ten variants with the newly-released generation.
BMW is apparently "sensitive" about the number of variants and the size of those variants. Speaking to Autocar, BMW board member Peter Schwartzenbauer suggested it's better to go in a different direction and "concentrate on doing less but better".
It's likely each new model would be further differentiated in terms of styling, too, and a new UK design studio is being considered.
The company is said to be a little worried that some models have strayed too far from MINI's roots, and that some cars--such as the recent John Cooper Works concept--have even become parodies of the original Cooper.
It doesn't mean that larger models such as the Countryman are likely to leave the range, though. In fact, quite the opposite--a proper SUV model is said to be one of Schwartzenbauer's "hero cars", and the current Countryman has proved hugely successful.
Instead, it's likely to grow even bigger, but styling may be better differentiated from the MINI hatchback models.
A proper hatchback and convertible are likely to remain, and a regular five-door hatchback targeted at the Volkswagen Golf is also likely--with a corresponding increase in price, to cover the relatively high costs of building cars in the UK.
What models would you like to see produced by MINI? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.