No matter how good an idea the Rocketman was was, it’s going to be a long time before we see one: the model has been canceled.
UK automobile magazine Car reports that the Mini Rocketman has been shelved, about 10 months after it debuted on stage at the Geneva Show. The problem seems to be the Rocketman’s size: the car would be 11 inches shorter and half an inch narrower than the Cooper, which means it would have to be built on a separate platform from the other 10 Mini offerings.
Considering that Mini’s business model hinges on its ability to make many profitable models using the same basic architecture and running gear, a separate platform for one model makes no sense.
The car itself would also have a hard time passing increasingly stringent crash standards of the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), not to mention the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the U.S.
Mini USA didn't confirm the cancellation, but held out hope that some of the Rocketman's very cool elements – sliding tray trunk, forward swinging doors – may be used on future Minis, which will start arriving some time in 2013. The reception the Rocketman received suggests that many Mini owners would love to see a smaller model added to the range.––Paul DucheneBack to News