Mini Clubvan Concept—a truly mini van—will debut at Geneva

Mini Clubvan Concept left front

Mini Clubvan Concept debuts at 2012 Geneva International Motor Show

Mini puts yet another spin on the concept with a panel van version of the Mini Clubman called the Mini Clubvan. It’s officially a concept that debuts at the Geneva International Motor Show but only a negative market study will keep this mini—and Mini—workhorse from production.

Mini Clubvan Concept side door open

The Mini Clubvan Concept adds limited access to the cargo area with the side door open. Click to enlarge image.

The concept Mini Clubvan is essentially Mini Clubman with a closed-off load area behind the front seats, opaque rear side windows and its rear seat replaced with a flat load floor from the rear side-hinged “barn doors” all the way up to the a partition grille behind the front seats. The lower part of the grille, which is fixed securely to the car body, is made from solid aluminum, while the upper section consists of a silver-colored stainless steel honeycomb grating.

The side walls and floor of the load compartment are covered in high-quality anthracite-colored cloth—which doesn’t sound very practical for a working van–while the anthracite roof liner stretches along the full length of the interior. The Mini Clubvan Concept has six attachment loops recessed into the load compartment floor with elasticized straps to keep cargo from sliding around. The Clubvan retains the side door of the Mini Clubman.

Mini Clubvan Concept profile

The side glass in the Mini Clubvan is opaque polycarbonate. Click to enlarge image.

The rear side windows of the Mini Clubvan Concept are made from polycarbonate sections, their outer surfaces painted in the car’s body color, and the Clubvan has heavily tinted glass for the rear doors make it difficult to see into the load compartment.

The Mini Clubvan has a historical precedent, naturally enough. In 1960, just a year after original Austin Mini debuted, the wheelbase was stretched by four inches, and with a separate load compartment and split rear doors, the Austin Mini became the Morris Mini Van, ideally configured for commercial use on a mini scale. With windows instead of the Mini Van’s panels it because the four-seat Morris Mini Traveller, an antecedent to today’s Mini Clubman.

Mini Clubvan Concept with rear doors open

The rear doors of the Mini Clubvan Concept open for access to a Mini cargo compartment. Click to enlarge image.

The Mini Clubvan Concept is similar to the Chevrolet HHR Panel and the never-produced Chrysler PT Cruiser Panel concept in function, and while Mini has made no announcement regarding production of the Clubvan, it is such a natural extension of the Mini idea and so easy to do, we predict a Clubvan to be in Mini showrooms within a year.