The original Mini was developed at a time when Europe was grappling with fuel shortage as a result of the 1956 Suez Crisis. Sir Leonard Lord of British car manufacturer Morris Company instructed his top designer, Alec Issignosis, to design a small, fuel-efficient four-seater car. This miniature automobile debuted as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven in 1959. Two years later, it was renamed as the Austin Mini.
In 1961, Issigonis collaborated with John Cooper, a Formula 1 designer, to create a performance rally vehicle, which launched as the Austin MINI Cooper and the Morris MINI Cooper later in that year. More powerful "S" versions were also introduced. Carrying big engines and performance hardware setup, these models became a hit in rallies across Europe.
Issigonis' design, which featured compact dimensions, a transverse-engine, and a front-wheel drive configuration, was a game changer in the automobile industry. It was made available in different body styles, but it was the two-door model that proved that caught most car buyers' fancy. The Mini easily became of the best-selling British cars ever, and it remained in production until 2000.
The original Mini transferred hands a few times, with The British Motor Corporation Limited, the British Leyland, and the Rover Group having their turns at manufacturing the car in their factories.
In 1994, BMW acquired The Rover Group and started to develop an all-new Mini. In 2000, BMW sold The Rover Group but retained possession over the Mini name. A year later, BMW introduced its modern interpretation of the Mini, which featured larger dimensions and faux-vintage design. BMW's Mini also enjoyed commercial success. In 2010, Mini launched the biggest vehicle that the brand has ever produced – the Countryman. Even though a crossover model is something unexpected from Mini, the Countryman has been doing well in many markets worldwide.
Part of Mini's appeal is customization. There are numerous colors of and trims to choose from, and customers can play with the design such as by tweaking the spoilers or adding graphics.
Today, Mini has been on a roll, pushing the "Mini" concept to newer boundaries and offering several versions of Issigonis' original design. Expect the brand to continue surprising the market with new variants moving forward.
British United Automobiles (BUAI) serves as the first and exclusive distributor of Mini in the Philippines. The company was incorporated in 2009. Mini has three dealerships in the country, located in Alabang, Cebu, and Bonifacio Global City.
In the Philippines, the available models are the Mini 3 Door, Mini 5 Door, Mini Convertible, Mini Clubman, and Mini Countryman. Based on 2018 global deliveries, Mini's bestselling models were the Hatch 3 Door and the Hatch 5, and the Countryman.
Mini Hatch 3 Door is the three-door variant of the of the Mini Hatch, which is also known as the Mini Cooper. First introduced in 2000, this model scores high in aesthetics, safety and entertainment features. This four-seater compact hatchback comes in three trims: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works. The base variant – the cooper – runs on a 1.5-liter three-cylinder MINI Twin Power Turbo engine attached to either a manual or an automatic gearbox. It can generate up to 134 horsepower. Mini Hatch 5 is the Cooper's five-door variant that offers decent legroom and boot space. It is known to pack a good list of safety features and to deliver excellent fuel economy. MINI offers this model in two trims: Cooper and Cooper S. The base variant Cooper uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder MINI Twin Power Turbo engine paired to either manual or an automatic transmission.
The Mini Countryman is a five-door subcompact crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV) that debuted in 2010. It is available in Cooper and John Cooper Works variants, both of which run on a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder 16 valves direct fuel injection engine. It is available in manual, automatic, and Sports Automatic transmission, and in two-wheel or four-wheel drive configuration. The 5 Door Cooper can churn out up to 189 horsepower, while the Jon Cooper Works version can do up to 228 horsepower.
Mini is manufactured at BMW's production facilities, which spans 31 locations in 15 countries. The BMW factories involved in the production of Mini vehicles are the factories in Oxford and Hams Hall in the United Kingdom; Steyr, Austria; and Chennai, India, as well as the Swindon Plant in the United Kingdom where body pressings and sub-assemblies are carried out. Mini vehicles are also produced in four partner plants located in Jakarta, Indonesia; Cairo, Egypt; Kaliningrad, Russia; and Kulim, Malaysia. In line with BMW's mission to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of its vehicles through electrification of drivetrains, among other means, the MINI Electric concept was unveiled in 2017. The brand aims to launch its first fleet of all-electric vehicles in 2020. First up is a new fully electric variant that will be added to the Hatch 3 Door portfolio.