Currently reading: Mini to revive Traveller name for BMW i3-based MPV
Mini will take on Mercedes B-Class with a five-seat electric people carrier in 2023
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2 mins read
6 September 2019

Mini plans to enter the shrinking market for small MPVs with a new electric model. It will be the brand’s most practical car yet, and it’s thought it will revive the Traveller name. 

The new Mini MPV has been conceived to appeal to family car buyers seeking greater levels of interior versatility and space than the existing Clubman and Countryman

It will be based on parent company BMW’s FAAR platform, which supports front- and four-wheel drive. There will be versions powered by internal combustion engines, a plug-in hybrid and, later in its seven-year life cycle, a battery-electric driveline in a Traveller SE model. It will rival the Volkswagen ID 3, which will be revealed next month. 

In pure-electric form, the new Mini model is set to be twinned with the successor to the BMW i3. That means it will be offered with the very latest in battery cell technology and a range exceeding 250 miles. 

Autocar understands the move is part of a comprehensive realignment of Mini’s global operations that will divide its line-up into two distinct areas. Future models will based on either the FAAR platform or a new entry-level one being developed in a joint venture with Chinese car maker Great Wall Motors. 

The realignment, masterminded by recently departed BMW chairman Harald Krüger, aims to provide Mini with a less cost-intensive operational base and the scope for a broader range of models. 

In future, Mini’s production activities will centre on three plants: Born in the Netherlands; Zhangjiagang, China; and Oxford, UK. Satellite operations will continue in India, Malaysia and Thailand. 

As well as planning replacements for today’s hatch, Clubman and Countryman, Mini is developing two crucial new models that will arrive by the end of 2023. The aim is to increase annual sales volumes well beyond the 361,531 achieved in 2018. 

One will be the long-awaited production version of the Rocketman, as previously reported by Autocar. 

The entry-level Smart Forfour rival will be fully electric and based on a development of Great Wall Motors’ ME platform. It will be produced under a joint-venture operation called Spotlight Automotive, based in China. 

The second approved new model, expected to be called the Traveller, will rival the likes of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. Plans are in place for it to be developed using technology from the next BMW i3. 

Described to Autocar as being very much in the mould of BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer, the new five-seater is intended to complement existing Mini models. 

Production is likely to begin in the Netherlands near the end of 2022, according to senior Mini sources.

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gavsmit 6 September 2019

I can't wait......

...to pay £50k for one of these whilst encouraging BMW to move jobs out of the UK.

voyager12 6 September 2019

Good idea, BMW...

But please, keep the styling simple. Don't make it look like a bunch of designers with ADHD took it under their wing, with all sorts of shapes, creases, fake grilles, etc. BMWs look way too cluttered these days. In der Beschränkng zeigt sich der Meister. 

Will86 6 September 2019

Nice idea

But will it sell in today's SUV obsessed market? If Mini can get the styling and image right it might just work and using the i3 mechanicals is very promising, but I do wonder whether it could be a flop.

catnip 8 September 2019

Will86 wrote:

Will86 wrote:

But will it sell in today's SUV obsessed market? If Mini can get the styling and image right it might just work and using the i3 mechanicals is very promising, but I do wonder whether it could be a flop.

I hope MINI can get this right. There are still people that actually find an MPV  more suitable for their needs but have been swept along with the SUV craze. Getting away from the over fussy current styling for something more pared back and pure could do wonders for them.

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