MINI Clubvan Concept approved for production

Article by Christian A., on April 27, 2012

The Mini Clubvan Concept seen at the latest Geneva Motor Show has been approved for production. This project will be officially announced in June with production starting shortly after. This commercial-use Mini, which is the first since this marque was relaunched by BMW in 2001, is basically a modified Clubman estate that comes with split rear doors and the vestigial rear-hinged door on the driver’s side.

The Clubvan has two seats, a bulkhead to split the load area from the passenger compartment, as well as opaque rear side windows. It also comes with a fully lined load area instead of the painted metal load-spaces of most car-derived vans, in hopes of marketing the Clubvan as a premium commercial vehicle.

BMW has made it a point for the utilitarian Mini not to affect the strong residual values of the mainstream range. The Clubvan is targeted at boutique shops and businesses that don’t have huge items to lug around. It’s not certain yet if this would be priced lower than the £11,820 cost of a basic Mini First. Getting a price in this region would still be much lower than the £14,430 price tag on the most affordable Clubman.

With the Clubvan, Mini’s lineup has been extended to seven ranges. The Clubvan has been designed to have the bodystyle of the poorly-selling Clubman, which only made up for just 3300 of the 50,000 Minis sold in 2011. Throughout the world, Mini was able to sell 25,745 Clubmans from total sales of 285,060 units.

Many automakers find it difficult to come out with a vehicle that gets a good balance when it comes to focus on lifestyle and improved practicality. However, it appears that under the Clubvan Concept, MINI has found a way to do this easily. This is not unexpected as MINI has long been known to have the tradition of displaying excellent adaptability.

This adaptability started when the brand wanted to find way to make sure that the Mini would have its load capacity maximized back in 1960 and a year after this classic model was released. Once this was executed, the result was the Morris Mini Van. With the wheelbase made longer by 10 cm and accompanied with split rear doors, and a separate load compartment, the Morris Mini Van became perfect for commercial use.

This was also the reason why the four-seater and fully-glazed Morris Mini Traveller came to being, the same factor that served as the basis of the MINI Clubman. At least half a century after that, the MINI Clubvan Concept is about to see history repeat itself though in a different order.

Under the MINI Clubvan Concept, the brand knew that by limiting the number of seats to two, it will not only help owners get the capacity they require on a daily basis but also allow for a wide range of new customizations. While the load compartment of this concept car does utilize the same principle as that of the classic Mini, it has been reinterpreted and given a fresh approach.

This allows the MINI Clubvan Concept to be able to maximize the amount of space in the interior while ensuring that it has the smallest amount of footprint possible. Meanwhile its load area, which begins from the split doors in the rear, is able to extend all the way to partition grille that is at the back of the two seats. With the floor being made level, it allows the MINI Clubvan Concept to fully use the depth of the interior.

As a result, it has a load capacity that is even greater compared to the maximum amount present in the MINI Clubman. The brand has also managed to solve the issue of items sliding around while being transported. This was made possible by putting in a total of six attachment loops that have been placed in the floor of the load compartment. Since it utilizes elasticated straps, it can hold various items in place despite having different widths, heights, or even lengths.

With the partition grille being secured on the body, it more than guarantees that any item stowed in its load compartment will not slide to the front seats even if the vehicle does undergo extreme braking.

Topics: mini, concept, production

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