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BMW Delays Next-Generation Mini Lineup

BMW Delays Next-Generation Mini Lineup

BMW Group has delayed the development of its next-generation Mini models. The delay comes as BMW aims to cut costs and amid uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Both issues, combined with slow sales, have cause the German automaker to reprioritize.

Mini was acquired by BMW Group back in 1994 from Rover Group. Since then BMW has developed three generations of Mini cars, with the current one being on the market since 2014. Mini’s current lineup is underpinned by the UKL1 architecture, which also underpins the BMW X1.

“The lifespan of this platform has been extended,” BMW spokesman Maximilian Schoeberl told Reuters. “For cost reasons and because of Brexit.”

BMW isn’t the only global automaker seeking to cut costs. Rival Mercedes-Benz has announced restructuring plans as well as automakers seek to free up cash to make the massive investments required for electrification and autonomous vehicles. Global trends away from small cars make Mini an obvious choice to rob some capital for electric vehicles.

Mini sales were down 4.1-percent globally in 2019.

Shifting development costs to other parts of the business isn’t the only reason Mini is seeing delays. BMW currently builds the majority of its Mini models in the United Kingdom. With uncertainty surrounding the direction Britain will take regarding trade agreements with the European Union, BMW is finding it difficult to make significant investment decisions.

BMW has said if tariffs between Britain and the EU remain fairly low, it won’t likely impact their long-term decision-making process for the Mini facility. If tariffs end up greater than five-percent, that could impact Mini’s future further.

Mini’s are also produced by contract builder VDL Nedcar in Born, the Netherlands. If tariffs end up being significant between Britain and the EU, BMW may have to make arrangements to shift more production to the Netherlands.

On average, it takes about 1 billion euros to produce a new vehicle architecture, a process that takes about six years. It isn’t entirely clear how long this delay will impact next-generation Mini models.





 

About Nick Saporito

AutoVerdict Senior Editor Nick Saporito began writing about cars at age 13. Nick ran a couple of automotive enthusiast sites for several years, before taking some time off to focus on his career and education. By day he's a marketing executive in the telecom world and by night he hangs out here at AV. You'll find him focusing on tech, design and the industry's future.
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  1. Tone
    I imagine this is driven by a couple of things. First, BMW wants to see how Brexit impacts its current manufacturing in the UK as outlined in the OP. I also imagine BMW wants to see how quickly the smaller/less expensive part of the market shifts to BEV, with the e-Mini as a bit of a toe in the water. If the EU small car market quickly shifts that way (due to cost and local regulations), Mini might need to go all-in on BEVs. But, if that's not where the brand needs to be (or if it needs a BEV/ICE mix of products), that's a very different set of platform decisions. It make sense to wait and see how VW's i products are received in the market before making an investment decision (a fast-follower approach).
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