The History of Mini
Following the 1956 Suez Crisis auto manufacturers needed small fuel-efficient vehicles for the general market. Fuel was becoming in short supply therefore causing prices to rise and individuals looking for economical vehicles. With the popularity of the Volkswagen Beetle the British Motor Company wanted to design a vehicle that could be contains an 18 x 4 x 4 ft box yet still allow passenger accommodations and storage.
The result would be an innovative prototype they would use a front engine in front wheel drive powertrain therefore leaving the floor behind the firewall flat thus utilizing space. Designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and designated by Leonard Lord, the Mark I Mini would be introduced to the public in 1959. Make the introduction to the public the British motor company would send out 2000 Mini automobiles to be displayed in over 100 countries. In 1961 the owner of Cooper car company, John Cooper who was an established builder of rally cars as well as Formula One race cars was a friend of Issigonis’ saw great potential for the Mini to be modified and used in competition. And with the collaboration of the two men the Austin and Morris Mini Cooper would debut in 1961. This would be an inexpensive performance car that would boast anywhere from 34 to 55 hp thanks to its race tuned engine. 1962 the Mini Cooper would win the British Saloon Car Championship. In the following year the debut of the Mini Cooper S would give customers get an even more powerful vehicle that feature a 1071 cc engine which would later become a 1275 cc. Throughout the 60s several changes would be made to the Mini’s such as a new hydrolastic suspension setup and the availability of an automatic transmission. The introductory models were not making British Motor Company much profit if any at all yet due to higher end models the company would produce nearly 1.2 million automobiles. By 1967 the Mark II Mini would be introduced featuring several design changes were mostly cosmetic such as the redesigned grille and went into production level of nearly 450,000.
In 1969 the Mark III Mini would debut the seventh more cosmetic changes as well as a suspension change back to a rubber cone setup. More versions of the Mini would soon follow as its parent company wanted to broaden sales in international markets. Sales were slumping due to what customers remark as an outdated look to the vehicle therefore causing the company to produce several other variants of the many from the Mark IV to the Mark VII. In 1994 BMW would take control over the Rover group which oversaw production and sales of the Mini from 1986 to 2000. BMW would be unable to revitalize the Rover group and its many subsidiaries and would end up disbanding the company by selling Land Rover to Ford and selling MG and Rover to Phoenix. BMW would keep Mini as it would work to introduce a new model that would revitalize the company. By the end of Mini’s production in 2000, nearly 5.5 million Mini automobiles have been sold worldwide.
In July 2001 under the ownership of BMW, the MINI Hatch would be introduced. From the designs of Frank Stephenson the new MINI be placed into production soon became a very popular icon around the world. The MINI automobiles would be produced in the company’s Oxford, United Kingdom plant. The plant would receive several upgrades as well as more employees being staffed. In 2006 the engines there were previously being built in Brazil would have its operations sent to the United Kingdom thus making the MINI entirely produced in the United Kingdom once again. In 2006 BMW would introduce its second-generation MINI on a reengineered platform which would focus on a sportier driving as well as introducing economical versions such as the MINI D that offered a diesel engine engineered by Toyota.
Today MINI has several different models to choose from in a variety of models. The company is focusing in on alternative fuels as well as electricity. The MINI E first reviewed in 2008 and since then has become available for lease in the pacific areas through the company. In 2010 MINI would enter its countryman model into the World Rally Championship (WRC).