2012 saw a small shuffle in the Indian luxury market. The successful launch of the Mini Cooper brand in India conveyed that India isn't altogether unprepared to handle lifestyle motoring.
In its debut year, Mini India, with a rudimentary network of dealers, managed to shift 302 petrol cars opening the floodgates to a lot rivals such as Fiat Punto Abarth, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A Class et al.
So premium hatchbacks are coming to town and Mini is definitely here to stay!
Autocar reports that BMW (the current owners of Mini) have elaborately planned up to 11 members in the Mini family from 2014. The current Mini family has five ‘original’ members – Mini hatchback, Mini Convertible, Mini Coupe, Mini Clubman and the Mini Countryman SUV. Then there are variants of these original members such as the Cooper S, Paceman, Clubvan, John Cooper Works, Roadster, etc.
The all new family will have even more members added to it such as -
- The Mini Traveler – a sporty mini-MPV on the similar lines of the BMW Concept Active Tourer shown at the 2012 Paris motor show.
- A Mini baby saloon to rival the likes of the new-age compact sedans such as the Mercedes CLA and Audi A3 sedan.
- A five door hatchback aimed at family buyers who want to use the rear seats.
The current Mini family members will also become bespoke models themselves.
- The Countryman, which right now looks like hatchback on big wheels, will grow up and become a full-fledged SUV.
- The current Coupe and Roadster models will become proper sportscars in the future. Right now, they are just modified versions of the Mini Cabrio.
- The Clubman, which is a just a hatchback with two split-doors to access the bootspace, will grow up and become a sports estate.
BMW is able to expand the Mini model range thanks to the new Front-Wheel-Drive UKL platform which will underpin both Mini and BMW models in the future. The Bavarian automaker has planned as many as 23 different models on this new platform. Analysts expect that by 2020, BMW will be selling about 980,000 front-wheel drive cars under both the BMW and Mini brands.
When BMW brought the current Mini to the market, they made sure that the styling was kept as close to the original Mini as possible. The design of the all-new Minis will be closer to the Mini Rocketman concept showcased at the 2011 Geneva motor show. The new design will certainly be futuristic with heavy usage of LEDs but will still flaunt the curves of the past.
The new Minis will be powered by BMWs new, three cylinder, 1.5L engines in both petrol and diesel avatars. A six speed manual or an 8 speed dual clutch automatic will be on offer. Both FWD and AWD will be offered to the customers.
To support the new Mini family, BMW is building a new production line at Mini’s Oxford plant. The Bavarian automaker is also reportedly discussing the possibility of using the old Mitsubishi Nedcar factory in Netherlands as a satellite plant for Mini brand.