Rumor: MINI Cargo coming to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 3, 2012

MINI’s release of a cargo-oriented version of the Clubman marks its entry into the commercial vehicle market. The MINI Cargo will debut this March at the Geneva Motor Show. It is basically the Clubman but instead of back seats, it has a cargo bed and its rear side windows have been blacked out.

The release of this model is in line with efforts made by parent company BMW to stay competitive and to anticipate the arrival of its rival, the Fiat 500 Giardinetta Wagon.

In Europe, small commercial vehicles have long been popular. Its other examples include the Ford Transit Connect, a compact panel van launched in Europe in 2002.

These small and efficient vehicles aren’t especially useful in transporting large cargo but it is ideal for small businesses. MINI will soon provide more information about the 13-foot wheelbase bread truck.

MINI is once again entering the commercial sector with the new MINI Clubvan. Although the new MINI Clubvan should prove appealing for companies eager to flaunt their sense for individual style and premium quality, it should also attract customers aching to experience MINI-typical driving fun while doing business at the same time.

Designed to be an all-round commercial performer, the new MINI Clubvan intends to emulate the example set by the Morris Mini Van that was sold between 1960 and 1986.

Back then, the Morris Mini Van was known for its creative use of space, a trait that allowed to it to gain a strong following. In addition, the Morris Mini Van – featuring two seats and five doors – has a rear that is spacious enough to satisfy the special cargo requirements of day-to-day commercial life. For the sake of practicality, the Morris Mini Van features a split rear door and a wheelbase that is around 10 cm longer than that of the classic Mini.

Now, the new MINI Clubvan is emulating this example by offering a longer wheelbase for a larger load area as well as a split door serving as the primary access point to the cargo bay. Just like the MINI Clubman, the new MINI Clubvan rides on a wheelbase of 2,547 mm and measures 3,961 mm in length, 1,683 mm in width and 1,426 mm in height. On the right-side, the new Clubvan features the Clubdoor, which allows for quick and comfortable access to cargo stored behind the front seats.

Since the Clubvan has no rear seats, it offers an optimized load-carrying capacity. In fact, the Clubvan’s cargo area measures 115 cm long and 102 cm wide even at its narrowest point behind the rear doors. To prevent cargoes in the load compartment from slamming forward into the passenger cabin during heavy braking, these areas are separated by a partition just behind the front seats.

This partition – featuring an upper section of stainless steel grating and a lower section of solid aluminum – has been firmly attached to the vehicle body to allow full loading up to the roof, which means that the load compartment 860 liters of cargo space can be fully optimized. Max payload of the new MINI Clubvan is around 500 kilograms.

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