We could be on the lookout for up to 10 different MINI variants in the near future, as the carmaker plans to exploit its new UKL platform (co-developed with parent company BMW) that’s set to debut with the F56 MINI hatchback on November 18. That’s a jump from the seven models within BMW MINI’s existing lineup.
Whether all of the current model variations will survive the third-generation jump is still being decided, but it has been suggested before that the MINI niche is too closed-in, and that overlapping models may face the axe. A more streamlined next-gen MINI range will allow each model more room to breathe and prosper.
The bite-sized Rocketman concept (below) and much-rumoured Spacebox (a compact MINI MPV along the lines of the BMW Concept Active Tourer or production 1 Series GT) could be in the mix. Meanwhile, a longer, five-door version of the F56 hatchback has been all but confirmed. The rest? Your guess is as good as ours.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member in charge of MINI also told Automotive News Europe that both hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains would be included in the brand’s future lineup. The possibilities of pure EVs are still being investigated. Already confirmed for the upcoming F56 are new BMW-sourced three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
The German-owned British company plans to expand on its current 300,000-unit annual production capacity, which will be spread out to three main manufacturing factories in Europe – these being MINI’s own Oxford base and contractors Magna Steyr in Austria and Dutch-based VDL Nedcar (starting late 2014).