Back in January, we speculated on the return of the Topolino and Isetta marques in a joint venture by BMW and Fiat to launch a range of super-eco city cars to rival those that manufacturers like VW and Mercedes are developing. And according to Auto Express those plans are getting close to being realised.
This is a bold move by BMW and Fiat to gain ground over their rivals with models that offer extreme economy, but sport a legendary moniker to give the models added kudos. And both companies have already had success with the revival of two of the big sellers from the ’60s – the Fiat 500 and the MINI – so it’s a provenly successful business model.
It’s not clear yet whether the BMW version will be launched under the MINI name, or whether BMW will take the cars down the Isetta route, as we speculated in January. But it seems pretty clear that the Fiat versions will be launched as Topolinos, as this is known to have been an aim of Fiat for some time.
Scheduled to appear in 2011, the new ‘Mini’ MINI will give BMW back much of the credibility it has lost in the small car sector with the constant push upmarket in the MINI range.
The range of cars is expected to be a simple ‘wheel at each corner’ concept with engines out back. And just like SMART, plastic body panels could be utilised.
Plans are afoot for a range of ultra-economical 3-pot engines, and a full EV, based on the Tesla-like technology currently being trialled in the MINI EV in America and Germany.
The first concepts are likely to appear later this year at the Frankfurt Motor Show.