The next-generation Mini Convertible will be built at the Oxford plant, the firm’s boss has confirmed.
Stefanie Wurst said production of the Convertible will switch to Oxford from the Netherlands in its next generation in 2024 or 2025. It will be built there alongside petrol-powered versions of the upcoming three- and five-door Mini models in their next era, due to launch from November 2023.
“The Convertible is coming home,” said Wurst on the decision.
The next-generation of Minis will span six different models built on three platforms in three different factories. In Oxford, there will be petrol versions of the three-door, five-door and Convertible models. Leipzig will build electric and petrol versions of a new, bigger Mini Countryman. As part of Mini’s tie-up with Great Wall in China, there will be an electric version of the three-door hatchback and a new, larger five-door model called Aceman.
All versions built in Oxford – as well as the three-door hatch built in China – will be known as the Cooper. Although the three-door models built in Oxford and China will look identical, they will be different cars underneath. There will be no electric version of the Oxford-built five-door Cooper for China. That role will instead be indirectly filled by the larger Aceman.
Wurst confirmed the Mini One will be no more and the Cooper will instead fill the entry-level role. High-performance versions of both petrol and electric Coopers will be offered, meaning the petrol range will span Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper JCW models, and the electric version Cooper E, Cooper SE and Cooper JCW E.
The switch in this new era for Mini means the Oxford plant will lose the electric hatchbacks that it currently builds, but Wurst confirmed that electric cars will ultimately return to the factory.
“There are major investments taking place and going to take place,” she said, hinting that a mid-life facelift for the models in around 2027 will provide an opportunity for the switch to take place.
Indeed, Wurst hinted that the Oxford plant is secure in the long term as part of the brand’s desire to stay true to its British roots and origin. To that end, it is inevitable the plant will go electric, given the brand plans to make only electric cars from the early 2030s.
Wurst also said more models are possible beyond the six in the next-generation line-up, but nothing has yet been confirmed.
On the subject of a long-rumoured ‘mini’ Mini inspired by the Rocketman concept a decade ago, Wurst said the model is “more than a dream but not yet a concrete plan”.
On the Urbanaut concept from year, she said it is a car “thinkable under the Mini brand but we cannot decide yet, as we can’t do all at the same time”.
More generally, she added: “Minis can be bigger or smaller, higher or flatter. We have a strategic group working on our decisions and we could decide our future by the end of the year. If there is another bodystyle on top that is feasible, we need to decide. We need to look at the economics. We never stop looking at what is next. We need to look at growth curves and not let them stagnate, so it’d be stupid not to look at what’s next.”
Even so, the focus is on making the confirmed six models a success. “These Minis will have to be the most successful as they have to sell in huge quantities around the world,” said Wurst, noting in particular the growth potential for China and Japan, where it has yet to sell an electric car.
Wurst also hinted that Mini is open to getting into other areas of mobility, saying that the brand is “not always four wheels and a roof”.