Sustainability isn’t just a motto over at the BMW Group, as it turns out. The Germans will be making some serious moves towards a different way of building cars, being a lot more careful about the impact they have on the environment in the future. That includes all of the brands they own, like MINI, where leather upholstery won’t be offered any more, according to design boss Oliver Heilmer.
Speaking to Autocar, Heilmer said that the company is bound to become as sustainable as possible. To that end, leather will be dropped in the future as it is definitely not sustainable: “We don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable,” he said. “We’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather.” That’s definitely a bold statement, considering 54% of the cars MINI sold last year in the UK had leather upholstery.
That’s not all though. MINI plans to go even bigger and use recycled materials wherever possible. One of the first steps in this direction comes also in the upholstery division. According to Heilmer, the fabric in the production seats right now is made 100% out of recycled fibers. Even the lining underneath is made up of recycled materials for up to 70%. “It’s inventive simplicity. Materials will be recycled, but they’re luxurious at the same time. And inventive in terms of function,” he added.
All this could turn the tide for MINI, as the British car maker is suffering in terms of sales. The hatch and convertible models recently got a facelift and that could also help on the long run. Furthermore, there’s talk about new electric models around Oxford but we’re still far off from seeing them come to life. If Heilmer is to be believed, it looks like MINI will focus on small cars once again in the future, a move that will truly be welcome by fans around the world.