News : MINI Rocketman spotted filming in London

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

MINI Rocketman in London filming
MINI Rocketman in London filming

MINI’s intriguing Rocketman concept can has been given a visual spruce-up and brought to London in order to star in an upcoming video. The short piece has been shot by Dutch company, PostPanic in order to gauge public reaction to the concept, and decide whether MINI will put the car into production.

The revised concept is thought to signal some of the visual hallmarks of the next-generation MINI, due to make its first appearance towards the end of the year. As for the short film, it confirms that the Rocketman’s future is not dead, as some commentators believed, and that in the words of the company, ‘The Rocketman concept sees MINI reinvent the small car again by going back to the essence of MINI’s founding design principles. The car, a three-seater with a space-saving carbon-fibre cross frame, has been designed with MINI purists in mind. Whilst the Rocketman concept is not a retro car, it is a modern interpretation of the original MINI idea: a fun, simple, ultra compact solution to urban mobility.’

The two minute product film is part of a social media campaign across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. As to whether the car goes into production, that’s down to the response from MINI fans. We’re behind it all the way, as long as it’s built in its rightful home, the UK.

Interestingly, former MINI Design Works stylist Sonny Lim has gone on record saying that he believes the new will be smaller and more ‘back to basics’ than the current R56. He has drawn out his idea of how the next MINI should look (below), and it looks very promising indeed – it would be about the same size as the Rocketman and considerably lighter than the current R56.

So, is the Rocketman’s re-appearance part of a softening-up process for next year’s mainstream MINI? Lim certainly thinks so…

Sonny Lim's 2013 MINI Zero concept
Sonny Lim's 2013 MINI Zero concept
Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

32 Comments

  1. Genius, if this is the case then it demonstrates the strength of BMWs committment to the Anglo German MINI brand. Such innovation would never have happened under the Phoenix Gang of Four. Great to see Rolls and MINI go from strength to strength, BMW are the saviours of the British car industry.

  2. I believe that if the ‘Rocketman’ does go into production it will be down to the same concept as the BMW i series. Very limited, expensive and mostly battery operated.

  3. please… no battery cars… a car, and sure a Mini deserves an engine with petrol or diesel
    lets save cables and batteries for our shavers and vacuum cleaners 😉

  4. I’m sure that naysayers said the same about the original Mini.

    “please… no front wheel drive… no transverse engine… a car, and sure an Austin deserves to be rear wheel drive with longitudinal engine, let’s save front wheel drive for weird Citroens and transverse engines for pokey little DKWs and those strange Saabs”

    As much as I am not a fan of BMW, at least this is going back to basics and the concept of the original.
    A shame it’s only a 3 seater though, could they not have done an iQ, or would that require a height increase therefore ruining the proportions?

  5. <>

    Anglo German? I’m not so sure about that – BMW don’t have a single design studio in the UK, we merely assemble the cars – no other input whatsoever. The Countryman isn’t even assembled in the UK. If this gets the go-ahead, its unlikely it would even be made in the UK. So where exactly is the ‘Anglo’ part in the MINI? (Apart from in its dim and increasingly distant history)

  6. “Great to see Rolls and MINI go from strength to strength, BMW are the saviours of the British car industry.”

    Well i would say Tata are a more fitting candidate. BMW build one mini model in Austria as well as import engines for RR.

    JLR are all UK built.

  7. @Martin N

    Agreed. Completely. My only real beef with MINI is that it’s not designing the cars here. With the R50, which was a genuinely Rover-designed effort, its Britishness shows through, even if the packaging was compromised by BMW. The R56 ‘just about’ gets away with it because it was so heavily influenced by its British predecessor (and Gert Hildebrand is a well-known Anglophile when it comes to cars) – but I do worry that the link with the UK (production aside) is getting ever more tenuous.

    This will be a very important car for MINI. Let’s hope that it’s going to be more ‘British’ than I fear…

  8. Judging by what everyone seems to drive these days, it’s Germanness is more of a help to sales than a hindrance.

  9. @1 Ianto

    “saviours of the British car industry”? Really?

    Saviours of Mini? Yes. Saviours of Rolls Royce? Yes. Saviours of anything else? No.

    They asset stripped Rover and Land Rover, one closing, and have had absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of successful manufacturers in this country including Ford (engines), Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, MG, Nissan, Toyota, Vauxhall plus the other myriad of smaller players.

    What BMW have done with Mini is good but car design & manufacture is a huge and successful industry in the UK of which BMW is only a part.

    If any one company could be credited with saving the UK car industry it would either be Nissan for showing that we can do it here or Tata for both investing and showing design vision – both these companies have achieved what they have without BMW-style underhand dealing…

  10. Yet another ugly, blobby mini-esque mess designed for young people with too much money… No innovation there as far as I can see..

  11. Yet more caricatures of the Bini theme. Quite pleasing to the eye, don’t get me wrong, especially Sonny Lim’s Mini Zero concept, but Minis? Got about as much to do with Minis as Jessica Rabbit has with Marilyn Monroe……..

  12. @Peter Harris
    I think you will find previous British owners BAe did a pretty good job of asset stripping Rover from 1988-1994……BAe’s property development arm, Arlington Securities saw that the historic buildings at Cowley were speedily razed to the ground for short term profit and replaced with ‘Retail Parks’ so that no trace of Cowley North or South remain and now the highly succesful BMW MINI Plant Oxford has no space left to expand UK production.

  13. “Saviours of Rolls Royce? Yes.”

    Not really, Rolls-Royce PLC were and still are highly successful without BMW’s help… As far as Rolls-Royce Motors is concerned, they simply bought a licence to use the name. VW Group bought the actual Rolls-Royce and Bentley motors company (and assets).

    “BAe’s property development arm, Arlington Securities saw that the historic buildings at Cowley were speedily razed to the ground for short term profit and replaced with ‘Retail Parks’ so that no trace of Cowley North or South remain”

    Arlington Securities get a lot of flack from car and aviation enthusiasts for flattening a lot of ‘historic’ sites. Thing is though BAe got lumbered with a lot of surplus real estate, massive factories with no real chance of ever being used for car or aircraft production. While you could argue that the sale of parts of the Cowley site paid for the refurbishment of the Cowley Pressed steel plant (now the mini factory), they did sell off other sites, like Canley and basically pocket the cash. What they should have done is re-invest that money back into the Rover group.

    I don’t think BMW really asset stripped Land-Rover at all, actually they spent a fortune developing the new Range-Rover before they were forced to sell LR to Ford by the government.
    They did in a way asset strip Rover cars though, by splitting LR from the cars division and retaining Powertrain Ltd when they sold Longbridge.

  14. Yes, saviours and TATA as well. Great to dee people finally getting behind BMW and the excellent mini car.

  15. @6 – Far more than just assembly, all body pressings come from the former pressed steel fisher plant in Swindon and the Engines are made at Hams Hall, Birmingham. Its a ver British car. Still amazes me the ignorance people have with regard the MINI. But still as we all know knowledge is always inversely proportional to opinion.

  16. Minis get uglier with every new model,although i’m a classic mini owner i like the original new mini launched in 2001 which is still my favorite from there on they get worse and worse.
    I quite like this when i saw the first pictures but the one in this photo looks horrible!

  17. “…..BMW are the saviours of the British car industry”
    “Yes….Great to see people finally getting behind BMW and the excellent mini car”

    What total crap!! This is verging on propaganda. Tell you what, why don’t we all give up and just drive a VW, Audi or BMW? Were BMW saviours when they decided not to replace the Rover 400 with the 55 and instead off load the company they bought only 5 years before? What selective memories we’ve got!

  18. @17 Dennis

    I’ve nothing against Rolls Royce but it is common knowledge that all the old company could afford was low tech product engineering supported by the usual wood and leather. They had neither the resources nor available cash to create a new model that would survive in the marketplace so without BMW (and VW for Bentley) they would not have survived.

    The matter of only buying the licence is, frankly, irrelevant.

    I’ve not been to the BMW financed RR Goodwood facility but I am reliably informed that it is very very impressive – and profitable.

  19. @22 Timbo

    I admire your clarity of thought and expression! There is certainly an agenda in certain circles…

  20. The orange grille insert reminds me of the 200 BRM but of course that’s where the similarity ends.

  21. @22/24: I don’t think that everyone’s really carrying an agenda, more just going “it’s time to let it go”.

    What’s the use of continuing to decry the MINI and BMW when the time to “save” the British car industry was 7 years ago?

  22. Richard, I would never decry Mini and BMW’s involvement with it – a valuable part of our industry…

  23. “without BMW (and VW for Bentley) they would not have survived.”

    Well the licence is relevant, simply because VW had actually bought RR & Bentley motors, as you say they were their saviour. All BMW then did was bought a licence then set up a completely new and separate company.

    Frankly if BMW hadn’t bought a licence to use the RR name on motorcars, then we would still have a successful Rolls-Royce motors under the stewardship of VW.

    I’m not saying BMW’s work at Goodwood is worthless, but I certainly don’t believe BMW are in anyway the ‘saviour’ of Rolls-Royce as VAG had already saved them before BMW waded in and sweet talked Rolls-Royce PLC into selling them a licence.

  24. @Timbo
    ‘What selective memories we’ve got!’

    BAe the previous (British) owners bought Rover for a mere £150 million from the British government in 1988 with an agreement not to dispose of the busines for at least 5 years, then sold it to BMW for £800 million cash in March 1994…..

  25. @28 – VAG would not have comitted the resources to two entirely different product lines, it’s taken two company’s competing involvment to achieve this.

    I am in no way a fan of BMW but credit where it is due – we do have a larger manufacturing industry due to their involvement in Rolls Royce – and Mini.

  26. @Richard Kilpatrick – you are the voice of sanity. Anyone doubting the MINI’s Britishness should read Simon Garfield’s excellent book, which draws clear parallels between the old mini and the new MINI.

    Please stop slinging mud at BMW and VW, without them we wouldn’t have much of an indigenous car industry left.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*