Mini brand boss and board member Peter Schwarzenbauer believes that having a UK design studio for the brand would be “a good idea. We have to emphasise the British thing a bit more.”
Currently all Minis are designed in Munich, but speaking at the Detroit model show, Schwarzenbauer said that having an additional UK studio would ease the task of giving the cars a British character.
Schwarzenbauer also revealed that there’s a debate internally about how wide the Mini family should be. Asked whether there could be a Mini SUV, Schwarzenbauer said that “we’ve got up to 10 ideas for new Mini models.” And the new UKL platform that the latest Mini is based on allows architectures of ‘between 3.8 and 4.5 metres’ - longer than the biggest Mini Countryman today.
But in parallel the company is also working on the idea “that less is more. We could concentrate on four or five models that are heroes” he says, by which he means models developed to a very high standard. Also being considered are models that less obviously resemble the core Mini. “Do they all have to look like Minis? The Mini fans say yes.”