BMW and Toyota could soon expand their existing platform and technology partnership to include a compact hatch, a new report suggests.
The two carmakers have already announced plans to develop a new sports-car platform together, along with a number of next-generation technology projects.
Now, Automobile magazine claims that the duo is considering working together on their next-generation city cars.
For BMW, that could at last mean a production version of its popular Rocketman concept, potentially reviving a version of the ‘Mini-Minor’ name.
The Rocketman has been the subject of significant speculation since it was first unveiled in 2011 - and again in 2012 for the London Olympics.
MINI design boss Anders Warming has been spoken openly in recent months of his hopes for a production Rocketman, but the development costs for a standalone city car have so far kept the project on the shelf.
“At the moment, we don’t have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it,” Warming told the UK's Auto Express last year.
BMW’s partnership with Toyota, then, represents an obvious path to getting the Rocketman on the road.
In the short term, BMW could utilise the platform that underpins Toyota’s new Aygo city car (along with the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108), however it is believed the carmaker would prefer an all-new architecture developed by BMW and Toyota together.
This means that, with the new Aygo only recently entering showrooms, a new jointly developed city-car platform would be some years away - suggesting a 2018, or even 2020, debut for the Rocketman.
“It´s still early days as far as the baby Mini goes,” Automobile quoted an unnamed source inside MINI.
“But when our new R&D board member Klaus Fröhlich traveled to America early in the new year, this was one of the subjects on his agenda.”
If the Rocketman, or Minor, enters production, it will join the Cooper Hatch pair, new Clubman, the next-generation Countryman and, if other reports are to be believed, the Superleggera roadster.
Watch for more on this story to develop over the years ahead.
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