WHILE THE NEW MINI Crossover isn't expected to debut until late this year, our new spy photos show that development of the Crossover/Countryman has not slowed down.
MINIâ€™s delaying of the crossover lends credence to recent rumours that the shapely Coupe Concept may become MINIâ€™s next production model and not the high-riding Countryman.
British car mag Autocar reported late last year that the Countryman's production delay is due to the BMW-owned MINI focusing its immediate efforts on small, sportier models.
â€œThe Crossover launch has been pushed back as we wish to first explore differentiation within future MINI smaller models and get feedback,â€ a MINI spokesman in the USA said.
The Countryman badge has a history with the original Austin Mini, originally appearing on the long-wheelbase wagon variants of the 1960s-era microcar.
Given BMW-owned MINIâ€™s recent revivals of other Mini names (Clubman, anyone?), the Countryman name would seem to be an apt choice for the new crossover.
Pre-production prototypes have been spotted completing trials around the globe, and styling is expected to be faithful to that of the MINI Crossover Concept shown late last year at the Paris Motor Show.