MINI and Rolls-Royce ranges set to expand

Rolls-Royce Ghost
19 Sep, 2012 9:53am Steve Fowler

MINI will add more models, and the Rolls-Royce Ghost family could include an SUV, Auto Express has learned

More MINIs are on the way, according to new MINI and Rolls-Royce boss Harald Krueger, which could see the range expand to as many 10 cars in the next couple of years.

Krueger, member of the BMW board of management for MINI and Rolls-Royce, but based in Munich, told us that no decision had been made on the ‘mini’ MINI Rocketman, but two or three new models will join the range. Next week’s Paris Motor Show sees the public unveiling of the MINI Paceman – the seventh car in MINI’s line-up.

However, in spite of a £750 million investment in BMW’s plants in the UK in Oxford, Hams Hall and Swindon, any additional MINI models are likely to be built abroad with the Dutch Nedcar factory a likely place.

"Oxford will always be the heart of MINI" said Krueger, "And Nedcar is well placed not too far from Oxford."

Krueger was also keen to stress the importance of ‘Britishness’ to MINI, with the UK also being the second biggest market for the brand, behind the US. However, growth of 30 per cent in China over the past year could well change that in the coming years.

Any new car would have to be "go kart-like, emotional, exude Britishness and be profitable", according to Krueger. However, he also ruled out a seven-seater MINI like the Fiat 500L, saying: "I’m not sure this is a really nice car."

There would be more MINI special editions, such as the GP2 (which has already sold out) and those named after London streets.

Krueger also has responsibility for Rolls-Royce, which he says will "absolutely always be built in Britain. There is no alternative to building Rolls-Royces somewhere else – the UK has so many bespoke competencies that you can’t get elsewhere."

Rolls-Royce’s future includes more bespoke, high-profit cars like the Phantom-based Aviator coupe launched at Pebble Beach. But Krueger is also looking to create a Ghost family.

Although he was quick to point out that there had been no discussions about a Rolls-Royce SUV at board level, it was clearly something he had given some thought to, especially following Bentley’s toe in the water with its EXP-F 9 concept.

However, a lower, sportier, faster Ghost, probably in coupe form, was a distinct possibility. Krueger did rule out any one-off Rolls models with bodywork changes like the McLaren X1, though: ‘We’ll change some things on a Rolls-Royce, but not the bodywork.’

Do you think Rolls-Royce should build an SUV? And what do you think should be next for MINI? Have your say in the comments below...

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BMW seem to be
struggling with RR its still a brick, and they must have tried very
hard because they have made it even uglier, they can make it go
faster but it would not be sporty or ever look sporty.

As for mini it should
be called a BMW Morph because it has morphed into a much bigger car
than its competitors in the small basic car market, it's not small,
it's not basic, and it's a million miles away from the BMC concept.

Rolls Royce - Fair enough, though I hope for their sake the SUV is far better looking that the godawful Bentley one.

MINI - Make it stop. As I've browsed through years of additions, slowly ripping the MINI brand to pieces, I still can't help thinking why the Rocketman hasn't been produced yet. Personally, I'd ditch the entire range of gawky crossovers and awkward coupes in favour of only the Rocketman, under the name "The Mini."

Rolls Royce can do with more models. If done well, an SUV would be very profitable.
As for future MINI variants, hopefully they will be adding something to the brand, not just more for the sake of more.

A snazzy-looking Mini Clubpick-up lifestyle vehicle. Would go over well in the States! And a new Moke.

A Rolls SUV? Why not? But please style the thing properly and get away from the dreadful, ugly and clumsy looking things tha BMW seem to be so good at making! As for the Mini, most of them are just horrible to look at except the standard version, so go for the "Sports pick-up" and "Moke" and go after the beach buggy cruisers but make it simple and fun!

AEX 1334
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