With the next generation expected in 2023 and the crossoverfication of the industry in full swing, you might worry about the little MINI hatchback. But there’s good news for fans of the model, as Bernd Korber, the brand’s boss, says it is safe.
In fact, Korber went so far as to compare the MINI hatchback to the Porsche 911. Speaking to Autocar, he said the hatch is central to the brand’s success.
“Don’t screw with an icon,” Korber told the outlet is MINI’s guiding principal. “The 911 has to be carefully developed over time because it’s what Porsche stands for.” And MINI thinks similarly about the hatchback. So, yes, MINI has had to expand its range with the Countryman and the Clubman, though that doesn’t take anything away from the importance of the hatch to the brand.
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“What’s important is that the entire portfolio needs to have the DNA of MINI,” said Korber. “After more than 60 years, it’s necessary that MINI makes a bold step ahead, but it also has to stay true to its core, and that’s the three-door hatch.”
Anyone who’s afraid of change, though, may be alarmed by hearing Korber calling the next-gen MINI the biggest step in the last 20 years. Fortunately, the brand seems to understand that good steps need to be small enough for people to, you know, step up them.
“We’ll keep what is well known for being a MINI,” Oliver Heilmer, MINI’s design chief, told Autocar. “That’s not just design features but the proportions, compact feel, and friendly personality.”
According to a separate report from 2019, the MINI hatchback will shrink to leave room for a compact SUV marketed under the Traveller name. The change in dimensions won’t be dramatic, but, along with shorter overhands, should give the car an overall more compact look.