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Mini hints at new products as brand split continues

Mini is remaining tight-lipped about its future products, but as the carmaker asks its dealers to split the brand from their BMW showrooms it assures the network it will have a long future.

Industry rumours suggest Mini is considering a two-seater roadster version and even a mini-MPV.

Andy Hearn, general manager of Mini in the UK, would not discuss any specific models. However, he says: “Looking to the future we know there’s going to be an opportunity for the Oxford plant to produce more cars from the recent investment in paint and body facilities.

“It gives us the facilities to look at niche products and develop the best products for the best return.

“There are a lot of products on the drawing board and in development at the moment.” Asked if he is concerned about preserving Mini’s iconic status, Hearn adds: “If anything is out of character with the Mini brand it won’t be done. Wherever Mini goes, the Mini icon will remain an individual.”

More than half of Mini’s 156-strong network is expected to have separate showrooms by the end of the year, increasing to 130 by the end of 2006. Hearn says this will amount to a £23m total investment by his dealers.

The world’s largest solus Mini dealership Park Lane, in London, opened in December. The outlet serves as a flagship for the brand. It cost £1.7m to build and sets the Mini retail template.

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