Mini will build a production version of the Clubvan concept it unveiled at the recent Geneva motor show. The official announcement is in June, production following shortly afterwards.
This commercial-use Mini, the first since BMW relaunched the marque in 2001, is essentially a modified Clubman estate complete with split rear doors and the vestigial rear-hinged door on the driver’s side.
The Clubvan features two seats, a bulkhead to separate the load area from the passenger compartment and opaque rear side windows. It will also provide a fully lined load area rather than the painted metal load-spaces of most car-derived vans, in a bid to position the Clubvan as a premium commercial vehicle.
BMW is keen that this more utilitarian Mini does not harm the strong residual values of the mainstream range, and will pitch the model accordingly. The Clubvan is aimed at boutique shops and businesses with relatively small, high value items to carry. Whether it will cost less than the £11,820 asked for a basic Mini First remains to be seen, but a price in that area would be considerably less than the £14,430 asked for the cheapest Clubman.
Apart from extending the Mini line-up to seven ranges, the Clubvan has been devised to make better use of the slow-selling Clubman bodystyle, which in Britain accounted for only 3300 of the 50,000 Minis sold last year. Worldwide, Mini sold 25,745 Clubmans among total sales of 285,060.