During an event in Ponce, Puerto Rico, recently, Mini introduced members of the media to the 2013 Paceman and John Cooper Works GP. Product planners told Autoblog that the brand's lineup could eventually include ten body styles. Currently, the Mini range consists of seven models: the Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Countryman, Coupe, Roadster, and Paceman.
"I think it's gonna be a long, long time..."
David Duncan, Mini USA sales manager, said that these new models could fall into a range of niches. No specific vehicle classes were discussed, but Duncan stated that the possibilities are endless, "as long as we're the smallest player in any segment."
Well, nearly endless. As Mini bulges to bigger and bigger spandex sizes, what happened to the excellent Rocketman concept, launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show? It's bad mojo to show people something they can't have, but Mini stated once again that this is absolutely off the table. In order to create a vehicle of the Rocketman's size, a completely new platform would have to be engineered, and while Mini has looked into acquiring existing architecture from another brand, parent company BMW has nixed that. If a Rocketman is ever to be born, BMW/Mini will do it on its own—and that isn't in the cards.
On the bright side, Patrick McKenna, head of Mini USA's product strategy, said that while he's "not going to confirm it," diesel power is indeed being investigated for use in the next-generation Mini range in the States. Yes, we've heard that before.
The big—and getting bigger—question is this: Does Mini stay small, or is it heading inexorably to the place where every U.S. manufacturer goes, into Midi, then Maxi, sizes?––Paul Duchene
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