Rumormill: MINI to build Smart Fortwo rival

Rumors | May 29th, 2010 by 6
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It seems like not only BMW is on track with a city car vehicle, but also the other brand within the BMW Group, has kicked …

It seems like not only BMW is on track with a city car vehicle, but also the other brand within the BMW Group, has kicked off studies into a similar product. MINI, Oxford-based automaker, plants to add a new model at the lower end of its line-up.

According to British magazine Autocar, the new model is described as a Smart Fortwo rival, and aimed at complementing parent company BMW’s Megacity project.

The yet to be labeled MINI city car, will use conventional technology and modular mechanical components employed across the German car maker’s line-up to keep development costs down and hit profit targets.

Mini 255101041945825612x408

According to a source close to the brand and speaking to Autocar, MINI has never been onboard with the idea of producing a car smaller than its popular three-door due to profitability concerns on the long run: “The question we’ve asked ourselves all along is: how do we make money at this level?”.

BMW’s upcoming three-cylinder engine are the perfect choice for a MINI city car and performance can continue to remain at the desired levels.

“Nothing is decided just yet,” said the Autocar source. “It is all at an early stage of conception. But there is a lot of momentum behind it right now. We may be ready to show a concept within the next 12 months or perhaps a little longer.”

It is unclear whether the MINI city car will be a two or four-seater. Same goes for the engine placement, at the front or rear.

Autocar has been told that MINI officials are keen to ensure it stretches to no longer than 3050mm — the length of the original Issigonis-engineered Mini. That would make it a good 700mm shorter than the modern-day version but some 300mm longer than today’s Smart.

Proposals for the new MINI are being developed primarily in Munich, although BMW’s design DesignWorks in Los Angeles is also contributing ideas to the project, which one official referred to by the name ‘Minor’.

This is not MINI’s first attempt to design a city car. Back in 1997, MINI introduced the Spiritual city car concept, with three and five-door variants. Spiritual had an 800cc, rear-mounted three-cylinder engine.

[Source: Autocar ]