No matter how good an idea the car was, it’s going to be a long, long time before we’ll see a Mini Rocketman: we hear that the model has been shelved.
Car has reported that the Mini has been shelved at the same time that the marque begins its upward march with as many as 10 different models, and about 10 months after it debuted on stage in Geneva. The root cause seems to be the Rocketman’s size: because the car would be considerably smaller than the already-diminutive Cooper hatchback — about 11 inches shorter and half an inch narrower — it would likely have to be built on a completely different platform.
Considering that Mini’s business model hinges on its ability to make many profitable models using the same basic architecture and running gear, a shrunken platform underpinning only one model doesn’t seem to make much sense.
The car itself would also have a hard time passing muster with a bevy of regulatory bodies. It was reported that a smaller car would have a much harder time passing the increasingly stringent crash standards of the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP), not to mention the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety here.
Mini USA said that it couldn’t confirm the cancellation, but suggested we may see styling cues from the Rocketman used on future Minis (which will start arriving some time in 2013), and that the Rocketman did debut to a good reception of Mini fans and owners – many of whom apparently would love to see a smaller model added to the range.