Modern Minis are big, heavy, ugly, and expensive, so I was surprised to learn that 346,639 Minis were sold (to whom?) last year, almost as many cars as Tesla sold, according to BMW. Anyway, the lineup is due for a refresh, but that apparently has been delayed thanks to Brexit.
The German carmaker has developed three generations of the Mini since buying the marque from Rover Group in 1994, keeping each vehicle in the market for about six years.
The current Mini hatch model, which has been on the market since 2014, is built on the company’s technological platform called UKL1.
“The lifespan of this platform has been extended,” BMW spokesman Maximilian Schoeberl told Reuters. “For cost reasons and because of Brexit.”
Reuters goes on to say that it costs about one billion euros ($1.6 billion) to develop a new platform, and BMW has decided that that money would be better spent elsewhere. It’s busily pouring money into things like electrification to deal with ever-so-tightening government regulations, just like the rest of the auto industry these days.
This seems reasonable, but does make me wonder for the future of the Mini brand in general, and wouldn’t be completely shocked if in a few years’ time it kind of fades away. The new electric Cooper SE is a step in the right direction but left us feeling like it was a little half-assed. We’ve heard rumours about an actually small Mini EV coming, but those are unconfirmed and are tied to Chinese automaker Great Wall.
Anyway, the interesting thing about Minis is despite the fact that they are big, heavy, ugly, and expensive, they still manage to stand out as small-ish (and almost sensible) in an era that prizes cars that are far bigger, far heavier, and far more expensive. In fact, I’m beginning to talk myself into Minis being good. I’m going to stop this blog before that feeling gets too out of hand.