MotorAuthority is reporting that BMW is developing its own microcar based on the MINI Cooper platform. With competitors from Audi and Volkswagen on the way, it's said that BMW wants a piece of the action. A new entry-level BMW could see production as early as 2010 if the reports are correct. If the new microcar indeed uses the MINI platform and powertrains, it seems reasonable that it could appear even sooner. One has to wonder, however, if concerns of cannibalizing MINI sales will ultimately torpedo this project.

One compelling reason to support the project, however, is the impending CO2 limits that could be imposed on automakers if European Union legislation takes effect. A tiny, low-emission model could help BMW earn some credits for its top-of-the-line V8 and V12 models. Manufacturers like Mercedes, Audi and BMW haven't really had much of a presence in this end of the market until recently, at least not in their U.S. offerings, but with new environmental concerns, all appear to be making a move into the sector. Consider the Audi A1 or M-B A-Class, which were often seen as being too expensive for their content, or too cheap for their respective brand images. But buyers are getting more sophisticated and with the green movement and elevated gas prices, they are also looking for luxury in all auto categories.

[Source: MotorAuthority]


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