MINI may yet lock in a launch for its compact Rocketman hatch, according to reports out of the UK this week.
Revealed as a concept in 2011, the Rocketman immediately became the subject of speculation that MINI would soon return to its tiny city-car roots.
But, while the Rocketman did provide a preview of the brand’s future styling, the new Cooper range that appeared in 2013 is bigger than ever before.
It’s no surprise then that the carmaker is reported to be once again considering a launch for the Rocketman - a model that would legitimise the ‘MINI’ name.
Speaking with the UK’s Auto Express this week, MINI design boss Anders Warming said the Rocketman “would be appropriate for the brand”.
“At the moment, we don’t have the right tech solutions, but we are working on it,” Warming added.
That’s a reference to the Rocketman’s platform, a bespoke lightweight carbon-fibre design completely unrelated to the brand’s new UKL architecture.
It is also smaller than any configuration that the UKL platform can accommodate, meaning that any future for the Rocketman will depend on either a special new platform, or a partnership with another carmaker.
Around this time last year, MINI USA product boss Pat McKenna offered a similar view, but added that with the company’s “emphasis on driving performance”, it would not accept just any platform.
As a result, the carmaker has yet to land on an ideal solution for bringing the Rocketman to market.
Still, with parent BMW now engaged in a technology development partnership with Toyota - a jointly-developed sports car is already in the works - perhaps a new city-car platform could also appear.
Time will tell, but as a genuinely mini MINI, the Rocketman might just be the ticket to winning back many of the brand's traditional fans.