BMW is planning to roll out a cheaper, near-£10,000 Mini to take advantage of the UK’s upcoming scrappage scheme, according to company sources.
The new entry-level Mini will be based on the 75bhp 1.6-litre version of the Mini One unveiled at the Geneva motor show and recently launched in Germany.
That car has boosted sales in Germany and sources say up to a third of all German Mini sales are as a direct result of the local scrappage scheme. “We’re reviewing an entry-level Mini One based on the car shown at Geneva,” said Mini UK.
The key discussion is the car’s exact standard spec. It’s likely to have air-con but steel wheels in place of alloys.
As with the Mini One, it will have a body-coloured roof rather than the more eye-catching separate colour used on Cooper models.
“With the UK scrappage scheme starting in July, it looks a no-brainer, but we’ve got to review the spec first,” said Mini.
Price will also be key. The current Mini range rises in steps of £1500, which suggests a list price of about £10,500.
With a combined government and Mini subsidy of £2000, that could bring Mini ownership within the grasp of an £8500 budget.
However, the pay-off is rather less Mini-like performance: 0-62mph in 13.2sec, which is 2.5sec adrift of the 93bhp One.
The car may be announced at the Mini United 50th anniversary bash at Silverstone from 22-24 May. New special-edition models will be unveiled there.
Another new Mini model is also in the pipeline: a super-diesel version powered by the engine found in the BMW 120d.
These new models will help keep the Oxford plant running at strong levels. After a long Christmas shutdown, Mini says production is now back at similar levels to 2008’s.