Electric Minis may be built in North America

Mini used this week’s 2023 Munich auto show to debut a redesigned version of its iconic Cooper hatch, as well as a redesigned Countryman.

The new Cooper was shown in electric guise but a gas-powered version is also planned. The electric version features a dedicated EV platform and is built in China, meaning it will incur a 27.5% tariff if imported to the U.S.

As a result, Mini doesn’t plan to offer the electric Cooper in the U.S., at least initially. That will also be the case for the Aceman, an electric crossover smaller than the Countryman, which Mini is still out testing.

The new Countryman is built in Germany, in both electric and gas guises, meaning it will avoid the steep tariffs of Chinese-built vehicles. Mini hasn’t announced a U.S. launch for the new Countryman but an arrival next year as a 2025 model is likely.

2025 Mini Countryman

2025 Mini Countryman

In an interview with Automotive News (subscription required) published on Wednesday, Michael Peyton, vice president of Mini of the Americas, said the automaker has a plan to get the electric Cooper and Aceman to the U.S. and that more details will be announced in the fourth quarter.

“It’ll be good news for North America,” he said. “We’ve got a plan to make sure we can bring those products to market at the right price points and from a business case that works for us and our dealers.”

He said Mini is considering production outside of China and hinted that North America is a possibility.

2025 Mini Cooper electric hatch

2025 Mini Cooper electric hatch

“When you have significant tariffs from an import standpoint and from an overall manufacturing cost [perspective], we’ve got to address those,” he said. “There’s some good things in place from a BMW Group standpoint that will particularly enable North America.”

Mini’s BMW Group parent already operates plants in the U.S. and Mexico, and these could potentially be used for production of some Minis. And the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year offers incentives to automakers to manufacture EVs in North America, including a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of locally made models.

Automotive News also reported that Mini’s U.K. plant could be used to build the electric Minis, at least initially. The plant will be home to production of the yet-to-be-revealed gas-powered Cooper, a vehicle that will use an updated version of the platform underpinning the outgoing hatch.

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