MINI makes a van, a Clubvan, man
Boutique cake shop owners and self-confessed 'kooks' the world over are dancing in their Dr Martens right now, as MINI unveils their next company runabout: the MINI Clubvan concept. It will be MINI's star turn at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.
The "amazingly practical" Clubvan is basically a Clubman sans the rear seats and side windows, giving it a "broader skill set to open up a new range of usage possibilities...among target groups not previously on the MINI radar," says MINI. So, it's targeted at traditional business users too.
Run the Clubvan up a flagpole and you'll find that it facilitates the procurement of assets and resources vis-à-vis bottom line synergies. True dat.
The Clubvan has its roots in the Morris Mini Van of 1960, whose production spanned across three decades such was its popularity. For that reason alone it's highly likely that MINI will put the Clubvan into production, although it's hardly a big financial gamble - removing the rear seats from a Clubman, and replacing the rear side windows with polycarbonate panels, does not require a large R&D budget.
Having said that, MINI has done a little more than remove the rear seats. The wheelbase is 10cm longer, all given to loading space - a loading space with a completely flat floor, and separated from the passenger compartment by a partition grille of solid steel, set into an aluminium base.
We're not told exactly how capacious the rear space is, but MINI does say it's a bigger useable area than the Clubman's maximum, which is 920-litres. Figure, therefore, on around 200 litres more than that in the Clubvan. It's hardly a Transit.
But MINI is already touting the customisation possibilities of the rear space, suggesting that it can be fitted with...drawers and shelves. It could.
Or it could be turfed over, filled with red toadstools, pixies and elves, and used as a touring enchanted forest show. They're mental, those MINI van owners.
When the Clubvan will hit the shops isn't clear - it's officially a concept at the moment, after all - but we reckon the order books will open before the end of the year.