Would that also mean the end of UK production?
To its credit, BMW successfully revived the storied Mini brand from near extinction 20 years ago. Unfortunately, Mini’s future isn’t looking very bright if things continue to go as they are now. According to Automobile Magazine, BMW’s bean counters have concluded that a partner needs to be found for the next-generation front-wheel platform future Minis will ride on. BMW previously approached Toyota, which it already teamed up with for the sports car platform underpinning the new Z4 and Supra, about joining forces again for a new small car platform.
Unfortunately that didn’t work out, mainly due to financial constraint that would have set BMW back. But there is another possible way to keep Mini alive. It’s the so-called eastern prospect. BMW and China’s Great Wall are apparently ready to co-develop an all-new platform for the next generation Mini. If all goes to plan, the new Mini lineup will begin to debut in 2023. And because that date exceeds what BMW originally intended for the current Mini’s lifespan, an additional two years will be added to the lifecycle of the existing lineup. The plan is for BMW to take the engineering lead and Great Wall will handle production in China, alongside its own unique versions of them.
Currently, the Mini lineup is built in assembly plants located in the UK and the Netherlands. If this new German-Chinese venture proceeds as planned, that production arrangement will likely come to an end. It’s either that or Mini potentially being killed off entirely. Take your pick. We previously reported BMW and Great Wall were talking about a potential partnership to build EVs, and we've also heard some rumors about Mini becoming an EV-only brand one day. Taking everything into account, an all EV Mini lineup could be built entirely in China.