If such a model does make production, it will enter BMW into the world’s biggest single segment, worth 5.5 million sales a year in China alone.
“BMW is never shy of new segments,” BMW sales and marketing boss, Ian Robertson told us. “There are no plans to do it at the moment, but do we want to do it? We’ll see…”
Building a 1 Series Saloon is just one option open to BMW, a saloon version of the MINI is another. “Making a MINI like this certainly wouldn’t be the norm, but then part of MINI’s appeal is not to be normal,” Robertson said.
If a MINI saloon was to make it to showroom it wouldn’t be aimed exclusively at the Chinese market, either.
“With a few minor exceptions, such as long-wheelbase BMWs in China, we make cars for the global market, and that applies to MINI, too,” Robertson added.
BMW is investing heavily in small cars, with a brand-new front-wheel drive platform that will underpin 20 new models (11 of which have already been approved, according to Robertson). The first to arrive will be the all-new MINI later this year, followed by a production version of the BMW Concept Active Tourer in early 2014 – the first ever front-wheel drive BMW.