Brexit has finally happened, and development of the next-generation Mini hatch is set to be delayed due to uncertainty over the UK’s trade relations with the European Union. Besides that, it is reported that Munich also needs to cut costs.
Today’s third-generation F56 Mini was launched in 2014, and a fresh version had been due to surface in 2022 or 2023. The current car sits on BMW’s UKL1 platform. “The lifespan of this platform has been extended. For cost reasons and because of Brexit,” BMW spokesman Maximilan Schoeberl told Reuters.
It is pointed out that while most examples of the Mini hatch, including the electric Mini Cooper SE, are built in Oxford, UK, many parts come from the EU. While Brexit has happened, current trading rules will remain in place until the end of 2020 while a new deal is negotiated. Moving forward, there might be tariffs on goods crossing the border.
BMW does have options, as the Mini hatch is also built under contract at the VDL Nedcar factory in the Netherlands. The carmaker has stated that it could move production away from the UK if a future UK-EU trade arrangement includes significant tariffs on exports.
According to Autocar, the next-gen three-door Mini hatch is set to shrink in size, and it will shift from the UKL1 to a yet-to-be-confirmed new platform – this is likely to be either BMW’s FAAR front-wheel drive architecture or a new one understood to be in development with Chinese carmaker Great Wall.
This platform switch would require significant investment to upgrade the current Mini production lines in Oxford and the Netherlands, all at a time when BMW – like most other carmakers – is trying to cut costs and channel resources to electric, connected and autonomous vehicle technology. Munich is also in the process of slashing vehicle development costs and the number of engine-gearbox combos it offers to further lower costs.