BMW is to extend its British-built Mini brand, the company said at the Detroit show.
BMW sales and marketing chief Michael Ganal confirmed that the new Traveller variant – first shown as a ‘concept’ at Tokyo and updated for Detroit – would go into production.

The Detroit display car is based on a winter sports theme designed in the colours of the United States of America flag. The roof rack and boot has fixings for carrying snowboards, skis and mountain bikes.

The final production design is a way off yet but Ganal said it would be in the factory within three years.

A fully redesigned Mini range will debut in ‘concept’ form at international shows around mid-2006 (Paris in September is highly likely) and go on sale in late 2006 or early-2007, according to enthusiast website

Current Minis have their body panels pressed and are assembled in BMW UK plants at Swindon and Oxford while engines are imported from a joint venture with Chrysler in Brazil. That arrangement will end with the switch-over to the second-generation model line.

In mid-2004 BMW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen said they were jointly developing a new four-cylinder engine – the Mini version will be assembled at BMW’s Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham from components made in France.

PSA will make its version at Douvrin, France for a variety of Citroen and Peugeot models.

The next generation Mini will also likely get a PSA diesel engine to replace the Toyota diesel now imported from Japan.