Mini Electric production is due to start at the Cowley plant in November

Mini Electric production is due to start at the Cowley plant in November

Having expanded the Mini range earlier this decade, BMW says its aim is now to fully focus on profitability. Deliveries dipped by 3.9 per cent in the first half of 2019 to 174,344 units. Considering the steep fall of the Chinese market that's a good result. As for Rolls-Royce, a record 2018 may even be beaten in 2019, the total for H1 being 2,534 cars, a year-on-year surge of +42.3 per cent.

Mini

The 'Minor', whilst not confirmed for production, might be back in the planning stages, although production would not start until 2022 or 2023. Before being shelved in 2012, there was a project to create a small hatchback and convertible range to rival the Fiat 500. The issue which caused the project to be placed on ice remains: how to keep development and manufacturing costs low enough to make an A segment car financially viable.

The Rocketman concepts from 2011 and 2012 were much admired yet nothing came of these cars due to several factors: the lack of a suitable platform, the cost of developing one and no obvious place to manufacture such a model.

BMW now has some fresh options which could see the idea of a Rocketman/Minor being revived. One would be to bring this model into Spotlight Automotive, the JV with Great Wall Motor. That China-based venture's production plant for electric Minis is to be in Jiangsu province's Zhangjiagang Economic & Technological Development Zone.

Another avenue for a 3.5-3.7m long Mini could be a fresh JV with Toyota Motor Europe to share what will become Toyota's wholly owned Kolin plant. This facility, which builds the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 2018 small cars, is due to pass from co-owned status with Groupe PSA in January 2021. TME has not stated what it intends to do with the two thirds of the Czech plant's 300,000 per year capacity that it will suddenly have once production of the 108 and C1 stops.

The successors for the B segment Mini range (Hatch/Hardtop, Electric, 5-door Hatch and Convertible) are now less than 18 months away, which also means that the newly announced Mini Electric - see below - may only be in production for a year or so. Series production of cars with combustion engines should commence in the fourth quarter of 2020 at the Cowley factory in England and at VDL Nedcar in The Netherlands. There should then be a facelift in the first half of 2024 and a replacement in late 2027. The cars' platform will be FAAR.

The next generation hatchbacks could be amongst the models which BMW will manufacture at the Hungarian plant that it announced in July 2018. This factory will be near Debrecen, the country's second largest city, about 200 km east of Budapest. Initial capacity will be 150,000 vehicles per annum. There could also be build in China at the BMW-Great Wall Spotlight factory in Zhangjiagang.

F54, the existing Clubman, has been in production since August 2015. A facelifted model was announced in April, premiering at the Shanghai motor show. As well as the styling changes, there are adjustments to the powertrain line-up. The JCW version has gained power and now has outputs of 225kW (306hp) and 450Nm.

The Clubman successor, due in 2022, moves to BMW Group's FAAR architecture. As the popularity of estates has waned, the car itself could change body styles and become a crossover. The shift to FAAR also allows the potential for all-wheel drive. Size-wise, it shouldn't stray too far from the current model's 4,223mm length.

F60, the second generation Countryman, was announced to the media in October 2016, a few weeks ahead of its debut at the Los Angeles auto show. Mini's sole C segment vehicle is built in the Netherlands by VDL. There is also some assembly at relevant plants. The car's mid-cycle facelift should happen in about a year's time. The FAAR-based next generation model is pencilled in for 2023/2024.

Electrified Minis

Production of the recently announced Mini Electric (official name: Mini Cooper SE) is to be at Cowley, also known as 'Plant Oxford'. The drivetrain will be built at BMW Group's Dingolfing and Landshut plants in Bavaria.

BMW is keen to market the car as a high performance model rather than one which has its emphasis on a long range. Power transmission to the front wheels is by means of a transmission with single-stage configuration and integrated differential. The single motor produces 135kW (184PS) and 270Nm while maximum range is claimed to be between 235 and 270 kilometres. The way BMW has packaged the T-shaped battery between the front seats and below the rear ones, there is no loss of boot space. As it was a mere 211 litres, that matters greatly. The pack's gross energy content is 32.6kWh.

The Mini three-door has been in production since the fourth quarter of 2013, which means the EV will likely have quite a brief production run, although BMW has not acknowledged this. The replacement will most likely be announced in 2021 or possibly even during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Rolls-Royce

The first deliveries of the Cullinan, which takes its name from the world's largest discovered diamond, took place only 10 months ago. This 5,341mm long SUV is powered by a BMW 6,749cc biturbo V12 with outputs of 420kW (563bhp) and 850Nm (627lb ft). Rolls-Royce is expected to add an electric version in the 2020s. There should then be a facelift in 2023 which will last until the arrival of a second generation in 2028.

Rolls-Royce hopes that the Cullinan will help it to sell in excess of 5,000 vehicles a year, which might even be attained in 2019. In 2017, the total was 3,362 cars, a 16 per cent decline compared to 4,011 in 2016. However, in 2018, the division bounced back in dramatic style, selling a record 4,107 vehicles.

Is there a second SUV on the drawing board? The Ghost is the current entry point to the Rolls-Royce brand. BMW is yet to comment on reports that it is considering developing another model positioned at around the same pricing level or possibly below where its least expensive sedan presently sits. This would be a second SUV, sized around the 4,800-5,000mm mark and therefore about half a metre shorter than the Cullinan.

The parent firm has spent a lot on Rolls-Royce in recent years. Now, it needs to see decent returns before committing yet more funds. So for the moment, any additional vehicle would not be introduced before 2020. 

In theory, the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina would manufacture the body-in-white, the basic platform being shared with the BMW X7. As with other Rolls-Rolls models, final assembly would take place at the Goodwood factory in England.

The successors for the Ghost and extended wheelbase Ghost are now just a year away. The RR4 series Ghost has been in production since the last quarter of 2009. The new models will have the same platform as the Phantom and Cullinan. The standard wheelbase car should be in production in August 2020 with the LWB due to be added in 2021. Project codes can be found in PLDB: see the link below for details.

The Wraith is another model which uses the elderly BMW E65 platform. This big coupe had its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2013, going on sale from the fourth quarter of that year. The Dawn is the convertible version which was added in 2016. Both should be facelifted within the next six months. The Wraith's successor is due in 2023 and the follow-up to the Dawn is presently pencilled in for 2025.

The current Phantom, new in 2017 at the Frankfurt motor show, was the first vehicle to use the brand's aluminium spaceframe architecture. This enormous sedan has a 6,749cc biturbo BMW V12 engine, four-wheel steering, pneumatic suspension and weighs a minimum of 2,560kg.

The standard wheelbase car is 5.76m long, with the Extended Wheelbase measuring 5.98m.

A facelifted model likely won't appear until 2023 and there probably won't be a replacement before 2029. There will be an electric version of the latest Phantom by mid-decade though.

Reports for many other manufacturers' future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.

This was the final feature in a series which looked at the passenger vehicle brands of BMW AG. As well as the focus on Mini and Rolls-Royce, the series looked at BMW cars, BMW SUVs, BMW M and BMW i. The next OEM to have its future models strategy explored will be Aston Martin Lagonda.