There's not really any way around it - the new Mini Hardtop isn't all that mini. Considering its supposed to be the smallest model in the brand's lineup, this is hardly desirable. It's good news, then, that rumors are cropping up of a smaller Mini, based on the well-received Rocketman Concept that debuted in 2011 at the Geneva Motor Show.

The report, which comes from our friends at AutoGuide, claims that a production Rocketman is still on the radar of Mini's product chief, Pat McKenna, despite being officially on hold. As Mckenna explained it to AG, "the only way it would happen would be if it was a partnership with another company."

See, the problem is that Mini's current UKL platform, which underpins the new Hardtop along with the future Mini range, is too large for the tiny Rocketman. And since developing new platforms isn't as easy as popping down to the shops for a gallon of milk (nor as cheap), it makes the need for an ally to split the costs a necessity. Success, so far, has been limited.

Mini's failure to find a partner isn't for lack of trying, though, with McKenna telling AutoGuide that the brand's "emphasis on driving performance," has kept it from finding a chassis that was up to the brand's expectations.

This begs the question of which brand is the right fit for Mini, not just in the US market, but around the globe (McKenna himself indicated that the Rocketman would fit into Mini's international operations well). Mini's partnership with Peugeot on the last-generation's turbocharged engine, not to mention the French brand's small-car expertise, could make it a logical partner.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Txdesign
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think the next gen Toyota iQ was mentioned.
      Ace Convoy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Next Fiat 500 ;)
      Dump
      • 1 Year Ago
      FIAT probably would make a good partner...and we know Chrysler can swoop in to do a slick re-skin for the exterior for a fun-filled small Dodge whatever...or even a small near-premium Chrysler city car.
      Mike J
      • 1 Year Ago
      First question? Why cant the mini platform be cut down but it can be stretched. Second, what about the "i" platform. For a moment think about a Mini-mini that is all electric with an optional range extender
      darkharbour
      • 1 Year Ago
      Mazda perhaps? Seems like a logical fit, Mazda is a small player looking for partners on projects (like the new Alfa/MX-5 venture), and they've already signed on to work with Toyota on a variation of the next 2, so why not make a Rocketman collaboration while they're at it?
      jack
      • 5 Months Ago
      i was thinking the vw up! platform. i dont think 500 would be a match as it uses the pandas and 500 and mini are the biggest rival! however i always think it would be cool if the next 500 was smaller and even more like the original that would kill mini!
      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't bother, MINI. Nobody really cares THAT much about a smaller MINI.
        Txdesign
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        Your name is Nobody. How unfortunate.
        William Flesher
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        Considering MINI is a global brand, perhaps "nobody" is a poor choice of words.
        MacProMan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        congratulations, you have the worst post of any of the MINI haters I have read about
      Aurio Salimonne
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyota is there to help!
      mycommentemail
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd love to see a smaller mini added to the lineup. But I'd also love to unsee this monstrosity.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      MacProMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      my impression is there is a strong request from the US market for a smaller MINI Hardtop closer in size to the launch car in 2002... I wished BMW had developed the i3 platform with this new smaller MINI in mind
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      My suggestion is Ford. Ford's small cars are all excellent handlers and Ford could pair this with the next generation Fiesta or Ka platform.
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