Many manufacturers build on their successes and enter additional segments of the automotive market. For example, Tesla’s first automotive offering was a roadster. Then they moved into sedans, SUVs, and now a pickup truck. What about Mini? Will they ever produce a pickup truck?
A colleague of mine recently wrote in an article about a modified Mini pickup. That article triggered my ruminations about Mini’s future plans. You see, Mini returned to the United States in 2002. They had one offer, the Mini Cooper. Since then, other segments were added by the manufacturer. A coupe, a convertible, a wagon, and even an SUV all came in time.
Pickup Trucks Are Popular
The pickup truck is a strong segment in the United States. However, it does not have a Mini offering. However, Mini did make a pickup many years ago. Thousands were produced to attract tradespeople that wanted an inexpensive ride that could haul equipment and materials.
According to BMW Classic, “The Pick-up went on sale in September 1960 and was only removed from the lineup in 1981, at the same time as the Van. Some 58,000 units rolled off the assembly line, which amounted to just one percent of all Minis produced.”
It Makes Sense
In Mini’s quest to strengthen its brand today, it would only make sense that it will again need to expand its portfolio of offerings. Assuming the business case is made, bringing back a Mini pickup to the lineup seems to be the right fit. An inexpensive truck would fill the segment vacancy.
Small Pickups Are Coming Back
The market is also primed and ready for small pickups. The retail prices of current pickups have consumers and manufacturers looking at recreating the small pickup segment. A small truck from Hyundai, the Santa Cruz, has green-lighted for production. Ford has also been working on a small pickup to slot in under the Ranger in size and price.
Scott Keogh, CEO of VW Group of America, claims they are evaluating the small pickup market. Even in the aftermarket segment of the industry, Smyth Performance has been making great strides in offering multiple kits to convert existing platforms into small pickups, called utes.
Mini Already Built One
Mini Paceman Adventure Concept was floated back in 2014. So, Mini has at least approached the idea of the return of a truck to its lineup. However, at the time that the pickup broke cover, it was emphasized that it was a one-off concept. Yet, it’s not unusual for manufacturers to put out design concepts to gauge interest on the car show circuit.
The Mini Press Release that accompanied the pickup’s debut said,
“This latest creative vision for the MINI brand demonstrates the level of talent at work amongst the BMW Group’s young apprentices. The MINI Paceman Adventure combines the drive technology of the 135 kW/184 hp MINI Cooper S Paceman ALL4 with an innovative two-seater pickup vehicle concept. The passenger compartment ends behind the front seats where the spacious cargo area for luggage, tools, and equipment begins. In addition, a solid roof rack can accommodate a spare wheel.”
It has been six years since Mini introduced the Paceman Adventure Concept. Since then, other manufacturers have begun wading into the small pickup market. Even though Mini has a past lineup that included a pickup, they have remained silent since 2014. However, given the empty truck segment in their portfolio of vehicle offerings, and their past foray and experience in the market, it would not be surprising to see another Mini concept come forth very soon, or maybe an all-out production-ready small truck.