According to a German auto magazine, BMW and Toyota may be set to join forces again – this time, to add a new member to the BMW Mini family with potentially an electric version following.
If the reported collaboration goes ahead, the conventionally powered entry-level car – called the Mini Minor – will probably be smaller and cheaper than Mini’s current three-door hatchback, and could launch by 2018 or 2019.
Details are scant on an electric version, but the report says BMW could add this after the first internal-combustion models arrive.
The revival of the Minor model name would be a trip down memory lane for Mini enthusiasts who remember the original UK brand, Morris Minor, from the early sixties.
The new Minor, which will be largely based on the Mini Rocketman concept showcased at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, will be 11-feet, 4-inches long – some 14.5 inches shorter than the original three-door hatch.
Price-wise, the Minor is estimated to come in at about $15,000 and this would significantly undercut the three-door Mini hatch by almost $4,500.
Mini lovers shouldn’t get their wallets out just yet though. A Mini spokesman declined to confirm the Autobild report, telling Automotive News Europe that development of the Minor was “mere speculation.”
In any case, it’s not altogether clear that the Minor would reach U.S. shores.
According to the report, BMW has plans in the pipeline to add an electric version of the Minor following the arrival of the standard models in 2018 or 2019.
The report also revealed that Toyota could roll-out its own version of the Minor, under the Starlet banner – though, again, in all likelihood, it won’t be sold in North American outlets.
If developed, the Minor would further strengthen the BMW-Toyota alliance, which was formed in 2011 to cooperate on diesel engines.
The collaboration has since expanded to include fuel cell and battery cell technology, lightweight materials and development of sports car components.