Photo credit: Mini
Mini ability accomplish the Urbanaut concept, but not for at atomic seven years or so.
The abstraction has fatigued abundant absorption central and alfresco Mini circles.
If built, it would aeon on an electric skateboard chassis.
In its own miniaturized way, the Mini Urbanaut abstraction microvan has acquired absolutely a stir. Not as abundant of a activity as the Volkswagen ID. Buzz due in 2023, but bodies are aflame by the Mini concept’s shape, size, and partying utility. It’s a microbus on the alfresco and a lounge act on the inside, with modular basement that could host a account of association on their way to clubbin’. Or whatever the kids are accomplishing nowadays. As allotment of the borderline contest that band the Los Angeles Auto Show, we got a closeup attending at the Urbanaut and a adventitious to allege about it with Mini’s “Chief Motorer” and Vice President, Mike Peyton. This account has been agilely edited for breadth and clarity.
Autoweek: So why accomplish an Urbanaut concept?
Mike Peyton: I anticipate the Urbanaut’s a absolutely acceptable archetype of how we think. It will aggrandize the brand. There’s absolutely thoughts on, how do we booty some of that adjustable administration and a lot of the acceptable architecture that Oliver (Heilmer, arch of Mini Design) talked about, a lot of the abstracts that are in there. It’s not too far abroad from what we anticipate is possible; maybe it’s a bit added mid-term, a little bit longer-term, but we anticipate would still be a abundant fit for Mini, and accomplish a lot of faculty for Mini.
AW: A archetypal artefact aeon is about bristles years, say, so fast-forward bristles years from aback you alpha electrification of Mini in 2023, that would be 2028. That’s a ballpark that I aloof threw that out, you didn’t, but would that be abutting to aback we’d see a assembly Urbanaut?
Peyton: It ability be about in that realm. Because starting in backward 2023 is aback we absolutely alpha to amend the Mini portfolio, we alpha to add added electrified products. And then, already some of those are durably buried in our portfolio, that’s area we anticipate there’s affectionate of this advance and amplification phase, which gets us into some altered backdrop I anticipate keeps us accordant in added segments, and additionally modernizes assertive aspects of our cast appeal, while still actuality actual accurate to those Mini active characteristics and all the things bodies appear to apprehend from the brand.
Photo credit: Mini
AW: You accept to go somewhere, right? For years it was aloof a Mini Hardtop 2 Door hatchback, again a brace of versions of that, followed by the Countryman and the Clubman. The articles accumulate accepting bigger. The angle of a microvan, I mean, the acknowledgment that Volkswagen ID. Buzz has been fantastic.
Peyton: Yeah, for sure. It’s awakening and avant-garde at the aforementioned time.
AW: It has character. People, I think, are atrocious for character. I myself spent aftermost night autograph about a crossover account agent and I was absent to annihilate myself. This Urbanaut is article altered and exciting. Are bodies arrant out for article cool?
Peyton: Decidedly for Mini, it’s got to be cool. There’s got to be some avant-garde aspect to it. And of course, we are consistently about that artistic use of space, and I anticipate the Urbanaut is apparently the absolute archetype of that. If I appetite to accept it be added of my arctic space, the active room, or if I appetite to accept amplitude to accept added of my accompany with me, that’s a absolute use for article like an Urbanaut. I can’t acquaint you how abounding times I’ve had bodies appear to me and say, “What’s it like actuality the arch of a baby car cast in this barter and SUV world?” The absoluteness is I’m not aggravating to be an F-series auto and I’m not aggravating to be a Chevy Suburban and barrow all the kids and all their stuff. We are that fun-to-drive, go-kart administration affair that’s different, article that says we are still decidedly in this allotment of the world, the second, third, fourth car in the household. I’m not your primary vehicle. And because of that, it allows you to accept a little added fun with what we’re active and what we’re providing. And we accept had a lot of barter who accept said, like with Countryman, they appetite article a little bit bigger, and they appetite article that maybe sits up a little bit more, but they still appetite all the Mini handling. And we accept that today.
AW: You don’t appetite to abatement into actuality article like the Fiat 500X, which has some of your Countryman’s accommodation after the aforementioned active feel.
Peyton: Accept you apprenticed a new John Cooper Works Countryman?
AW: Sadly, no.
Peyton: It’s my circadian driver, a John Cooper Works All4 Countryman. It’s got 301 horsepower. And it’s aloof insane. It’s so fun to drive. And it’s aloof a absolute archetype of how you can still accept a little bit beyond all-embracing greenhouse and still accept all of the affectionate of air-conditioned quirkiness of Mini. But again you could absolutely booty that affair out on a clue and aloof accept a bang on it.
AW: All true, no doubt. But afraid to the Urbanaut, for bodies to buy a new car, they usually accept to be older, because they accept to accept money. I’m academic a assembly Urbanaut is activity to amount about $50,000, $40,000 to $50,000. Again, my guesstimate, not yours, but the adolescent buyers to whom this is intended, all these admirable hipsters in all your videos who go clubbin’ calm in Urbanauts, they don’t accept any money. So how do you abode that?
Peyton: On any portfolio, decidedly a Mini portfolio, we’ve got to accede that we do accept bodies new to the brand, and again we additionally accept bodies that accept been with us for a while. We’re not necessarily an entry-level brand. We still see ourselves as a exceptional cast in the marketplace. Today we accept cartage that, optioned up, get into that $50,000 range, particularly, you’re talking like a JCW Countryman. But we additionally feel that we consistently accept to accomplish abiding that we are aggressive in the marketplace, we’ve got to accomplish abiding that we are accordant with what the exchange is demanding, and alms what barter are attractive for. But today you could charter a Mini, there are altered types of accounts alternatives that are attainable out there which are allowance added bodies get into Minis. The Oxford Editions actual abundant accept been article we’ve done to accept a aerial amount and a lower, added attainable amount point. We’ve done that with Mini Electric as well. So I anticipate you’ll see that as a connected action for us in the future.
AW: One way for adolescent buyers to accept admission to article like an Urbanaut would be to arouse one through a account like Uber aback they accept a beyond accumulation all activity somewhere. Uber and Lyft are still an option.
Peyton: Interestingly enough, in Spain appropriate now Mini is testing a Mini administration approach. It’s leveraging our Mini app and application technology in the agent and allows you to absolutely booty your amphitheater of accompany and allotment your car. If you and I were, you know, buds and you’re like, “Hey, can I borrow your Mini Tuesday night?” I can accord you admission to an app area you can absolutely attending at the app and say, “Okay, it looks like it’s attainable at eight o’clock on Tuesday, I’m activity to assets it,” and you’ll use your buzz to go alleviate the car.
AW: One actuality owns it and rents it out?
Peyton: Yeah, to amphitheater maybe 10 or 15 people. And so that accomplished concept, it’s array of Uber-like but added of the administration concept. And so we’re already aggravating that today. For Mini there’s absolutely some basement you charge to put in abode to accredit what I’m talking about, but it’s absolutely article we’re already activity bottomward that path.
AW: A big affair about the abode of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz van, or rather, the aboriginal archetypal of that, was that it was attainable as a camper. Has that angle been bandied about aback you guys were talking about the Urbanaut?
Peyton: Well, you anticipate about all the things that are in Mni’s history—we’ve had a Mini auto we’ve had a Mini van. There’s been all these altered iterations. So I anticipate you’ll abide to see us absolutely angular into it in the places we’ve been as a cast that accept been allotment of our ancestry and our legacy, but in a added avant-garde fashion. I anticipate you’ll acquisition there’s been a lot of things that we’ve done in the past. I anticipate there’s portions of that which will actualize in our future.
AW: You’ve done a van?
Peyton: Yeah, the Clubman name was acclimated on that before. It’s absolutely cool. I anticipate it was the admeasurement of today’s Clubman. It’s still a abate format.
AW: So Mini is activity to abide to aggrandize in agitative ways.
Peyton: Yeah, and acutely we’re affective appear actuality an all-electrified brand. That’s addition element. And that’s article that, aback you booty that Urbanaut concept, it gives you a lot added flexibility, application a skateboard-type platform, to do altered things and accede altered designs added adjustable in their architecture so that’s activity to be an important allotment of our future. All-electric is what we’re talking about by the aboriginal 2030s.
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
AW: Everything in the automotive apple is activity to be all electric.
Peyton: You attending aback on the aftermost two years, it’s been amazing how accelerated the move appear electrification is. That acutely actual abundant helped Mini accomplish the accommodation that that’s area we charge to move as a brand… An electrified Mini fits so altogether to the brand. If you booty the assurance car we did for Formula E this year, the Pace Setter, which is an electrified, JCW-type vehicle, it shows you that electrification could be a lot of fun.
AW: So, should I authority off and not buy the Volkswagen ID. Buzz?
Peyton: Would you absolutely anytime appetite to buy a Volkswagen aback you could buy a Mini?
AW: I assumption I could charter a Volkswagen ID. Buzz, again the charter would be up and the Urbanaut would be out…
Peyton: I would anticipate if you appetite to delay a bit into the future, you apparently wouldn’t be disappointed.
Share your thoughts on the anticipation of a assembly Mini Urbanaut in the comments below.
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