We're not sure that a bigger MINI Cooper is exactly what the buying public at large has been waiting for, but it is exactly what they might get. We would certainly hope that the small-size MINI would remain in the line, though that would certainly negate whatever savings BMW is hoping for by collaborating with Fiat on the project in the first place. Fiat will be using the platform for the next Grande Punto, due in 2011. MINI would not use the platform until 2012 at the earliest, followed up by Alfa Romeo's planned MiTo successor a year later. Also on the docket is a new Fiat-sourced 1.6L four-banger, which would be the third 1.6L engine used by BMW for the MINI in as many platforms.

It sounds as if BMW would like to save a few million euros in the development cost of the next MINI so it can continue building its larger rear-wheel drive passenger cars and *ugh* sports activity vehicles. What's more, the expected costs to hit future targeted fuel economy standards are rather staggering. This being the case, despite the huge sales potential of the MINI brand, it could well be playing second fiddle to the larger machines from its parent company in this case.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd.]

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