With the Rocketman, Mini had already introduced the concept of a tiny city car priced below the well-known Mini in 2011. Now BMW really wants to build the xs Mini in China – as a battery-electric car.
According to media information, BMW has given the go-ahead for an electric series version of the Mini Rocketman, which was first presented as a concept in 2011. The three-door Smart competitor is to be built from 2022 onwards as an exclusively all-electric entry-level model by Spotlight Automotive. Spotlight is the newly founded joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor, which will be manufacturing at the planned plant in the Chinese province of Jiangsu for global markets.
“We’re advancing plans for a model along the lines of the Rocketman,” an unnamed senior BMW representative told media representatives. “It’s a car we have been looking at for a long time, but to build it profitably at the price point we think customers are prepared to pay, you need a joint venture partner to share costs. Great Wall Motors has provided that opportunity with a shared electric car platform that will be used by Mini.”
The Rocketman was a 3.41-metre large city car designed to compete with the Smart Forfour. However, the project was halted when BMW and PSA failed to negotiate platform and engine sharing in the small car segment. A separate platform below the Mini, which now shares the technology with the BMW 1 Series, was not profitable for BMW for just one model – despite the positive response to the Rocketman.
In addition to the Mini Cooper SE, which will initially be built in Oxford, but later also in China, the plant in Jiangsu would now have a second model. The plant is currently under construction and designed for a capacity of 160,000 vehicles per year.