BMW will expand its Mini range to include a station wagon, the Traveller. A concept version of the wagon was shown at this month's Detroit Motor Show in the USA.
Unveiling the Mini at Detroit, BMW sales and marketing boss Dr. Michael Ganal confirmed it would become a production model.
BMW expects the new model to appeal to a new breed of customers attracted by the wagon's increased interior space and added functionality.
The production car will take inspiration from the MINI Detroit design concept, and from Traveller concepts shown at European and Japanese motor shows.
Ganal says BMW hasn't yet decided which of the unique ideas and design features presented this series of the concepts will be implemented for series production, but he expects the new model to make its debut within three years.
Like current Mini hatchbacks and convertibles, the new model will be designed for pure driving fun and will offer its customers the chance to make their cars individual.
Ganal says those core Mini traits will be strengthened with smart solutions for extra utility space and greater functionality, ideas that he says will appeal to the active target group.
The inspiration for the Traveller Concept and production car extends back to the 1960s when station wagon versions of the original Mini were produced, along with panel van variants and even a pick-up truck.
With a longer wheelbase, slightly raised roofline, sliding side windows and split doors at the rear the original Mini Traveller and Mini Countryman models went on sale from the autumn of 1960, followed more than a decade later by the Mini Clubman Estate.
The new model blends these design themes with the styling of the Mini Cooper and Cooper S currently available in New Zealand.Ganal says the new Traveller will offer identical driving dynamics to those of the exisiting Cooper and Cooper S, and wkill focus on high performance and fun.