Costs put Rocketman at risk

Discussion in 'MINI News and Articles' started by Nathan, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Short North
    +10,069 / 0 / -0

    MUNICH -- BMW is not ready to commit to building the Mini Rocketman, a minicar concept that debuted in March at the Geneva auto show.

    The reason? Executives say privately that they fear that the Smart competitor would not be profitable.

    The Rocketman is barely longer than the original 1959 Mini. It measures just 3353mm (132 inches), about 305mm shorter than the current Mini and just 660mm longer than the tiny Smart ForTwo.

    As a production vehicle, the Rocketman would have to be considerably more affordable than the standard Mini. But the shortened version would cost nearly as much to produce, company sources said.

    "It is not going to be easy to make a profitable business case out of the Rocketman," a BMW executive said. Another consideration is that "we currently don't have any free capacity in our Oxford plant."

    Mini's new Countryman crossover is being produced in Graz, Austria, by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr. Production of the Paceman two-door crossover is expected to be launched in Graz in late 2012.

    BMW is spending $814 million on its British production complex to prepare the facility for the next generation of the Mini.

    Source - Automotive News Europe
  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator

    Apr 23, 2009
    Maryland, USA
    +3,166 / 0 / -0
    High production cost doesn't surprise me at all. In addition to the material costs there are odd and unusual features sure to add complexity. Personally I think they could drop some of the more useless oddness ... that screwy rear door and drawer come to mind. The greater practicality ought to increase interest and the size of the potential buyer population and lower costs a bit at the same time.
  3. Rixter

    Rixter Well-Known Member

    Jun 14, 2009
    Technology Architect
    North of the 49th
    +79 / 0 / -0
    I think there's a market segment for something smaller than the current R56 but larger than a Smart car. Looking at the new Scion IQ and Aston Martin Cygnet I really like them. The fold down seats make them much more practical for handling even a few groceries. But in that car segment I think people want inexpensive. I dont see the Cygnet getting much traction and if the Rocketman can't be made inexpensively to compete against the IQ I think it will fail too. IMHO
  4. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 5, 2009
    +3,369 / 0 / -0
    MINI has always been about making an upscale small car. The question is how small can you go with it? At some point you break that magical barrier where the cost of the car becomes too much for the target audience to bear. That may be the case for the Rocketman, which is really a shame; the concept is well done IMHO.
  5. Putttn

    Putttn New Member

    May 29, 2010
    Manage small business
    Spokane, Wa
    +2 / 0 / -0
    I think Mini has gone on a styling decline since the R53. The contoured lines of the 53 were spot on and due to regulations they were saddled with all has changed, and not for the better.
    I'd fire the styling team and get back to what made them so popular. In my opinion the Rocketman is the second ugliest car I've seen in a long time. 1st place is the new Puke...oops I meant Juke. Just my opinion.
  6. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Winston-Salem, NC
    +1,302 / 0 / -0
    #6 minimark, Jun 21, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2011

    Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your perspective, the R53 and its iterations were designed to be a very interesting specialty car sold in small numbers at select BMW dealerships. It was not designed to appeal to such a broad market as today's Mini. The Mini is almost a victim of it's own early unexpected market success and the bean counters saw big money and went for it. Like it or not, a car built for a broader market will have some of the interesting bits homogenized right out of it.

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