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MINI execs have admitted that the design of the suicide-hinged door on the passenger side of the new Clubman may cause consumers both here, and especially abroad, to shy away from the more practical MINI. According to Autocar, the "Clubdoor's" position on the right-hand side could possibly detract from its functionality, as most British buyers will be getting in and out on the road, versus next to the sidewalk.

A MINI spokesman explained that the placement of the door on the right was dictated by the fuel-tank filler neck's place on the driver's side, and as such, it would have been too expensive to re-engineer the fuel door's location. The MINI mouthpiece went on to say that the automaker realizes this could be a bone of contention with buyers, but "we don't commit to making a car that doesn't bring us a profit." Since MINI projects that the Clubman will comprise approximately 25-percent of the automaker's sales in 2009, we hope that they're right.

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hahah! The British aren't even important enough to have their own frickin' iconic cars designed for their own roads! What British car industry? The Brits are just cheap labor!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This Clubman just looks a mess, never mind that third door issue, What were they thinking, England is full of Mini's but I think sales of this model will fail at least in England.

      This Isnt the first blunder BMW have made, there has been gear lever display problem in the U.K. the driver cant look down at the gearshift and see what gear they are in, of course there is a display on the dash, BMW said it was too expensive to reengineer the gear lever for people that drive on the left hand side, that just seems like a poor answer from a Company like BMW, they never appeared to be a company that would cut corners, but that's what it looks like to me.

      The Clubman name has been used before, it was the name that British Leyland / Austin used on a restyled square looking Mini in the 70s.

      British Leyland also made a Pick Up and a MINIVAN, Chrysler didn't invent the minivan name, Austin/Morris used that name back in the 60's the Minivans were popular and fun to own.

      The previous Wagon version of a Mini was always called the Traveler or Countryman. Cant BMW get it right?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I wouldn't buy one. And I like wagons, and I like the new mini. But this just looks too bulky and awkward (in a non-awesome way).
      • 8 Years Ago
      I just drove the Fj Cruiser for the very first time and it was much different than driving my VW hatch as far as visibility goes, but I think you can get used to it and the same in my opinion with the Clubman. Drivers in the UK and Japan will just have to let their folks out in the parking lot and not out on the street.
      This might explain why the Element and FJ are not really seen in Japan, but I think they would love them.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Clear way to spot a fashion victim.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Let me translate -

      Brits " what the? the door opens on the wrong side!"

      BMW "yeah we know that these Minis have a British heritage and that they will be sold in England where you drive on the left (wrong) side of the road, but Mini is now owned by a German company and we will sell a hell of a lot more in countries like the US were they drive on the right side of the road so you wankers will just have to live with it"
      • 8 Years Ago
      Its not expensive to put the filler neck in a new place...

      The real reason is its meant to sell more in the US, Mini just wont admit it... Though I still want one. Give me a clubman with the S treatment
      • 8 Years Ago
      Did they only start designing the Clubman AFTER the 2nd generation Mini design was done?

      Holden had similar reasoning for not being able to bring its previous generation cars here to the US (they didn't leave space to put the steering column on the other side), but that's different. They never expected to have to convert. But these Mini guys forgot that they'd be selling to the UK??
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like it, I might even buy an awd model of this if it's 23k to 24k.
        • 8 Years Ago
        We 94 Taurus owners think very similarly. I even like the wierd roof-colored trim around the back end.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Considering the size of that one rear door, it looks like crawling in the back will only be slightly less annoying compared to a standard Mini. What really kills it for me though is that awkward rear end treatment. Hideous.