Though the gaggle of MINI concepts preceding the brand's next long-wheelbase model have worn some variation of the Traveller moniker, we've known since last August the chances that name would be used for the production model were slim. Faced with the prospect of a prolonged copyright battle to obtain use of the name, MINI has decided to instead call its next model the Clubman, another name with ties to MINIs of yesteryear. BMW and MINI likely still had to gain approval to use "Clubman" from Honda, which owns the name in Japan, so its availability wasn't guaranteed until this week in Geneva when the brand announced its official use.
In a weird twist, The Car Connection blog happened upon a viral video on YouTube this week showing a preproduction mule of the Clubman driving around Geneva with messages spraypainted on its sides. The cryptic phrases included "Just Teasing" and "Stop Staring". It reeks of being staged by MINI in an effort to steal some of the Geneva Motor Show's limelight, but we'll let you be the judge. The full video's after the jump, along with MINI's official press release announcing the Clubman name.
[Source: MINI, TCC blog]
New MINI claims Clubman name
Today at the International Automobile Salon in Geneva, MINI has announced that the next derivative in its model range will be called MINI Clubman. Based on a concept first shown in Frankfurt in 2005, a 'Shooting Brake' body-styled car will be on sale in the UK before the end of 2007.
The new car promises to be distinctive, yet authentically embody the MINI character. Offering more versatility without compromising the revered chassis of current Hatch models, the production version of the car is further evidence of MINI's aim to break boundaries in car design.
Historically, 'Shooting Brake' models are so-called due to a combination of premium two-door styling, with added interior flexibility for owners leading active lifestyles. The new car takes inspiration and styling cues from the Morris Mini Traveller, which experienced widespread success between 1960-69.