When Mini gets to its next round of vehicle updates, there will be one thing missing inside them: leather.
The brand’s design director Oliver Heilmer confirmed the change to Autocar website this week, saying “we don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable. We're totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather." In the company’s view, leather is simply no longer really part of a sustainable development approach.
It’s probably safe to assume that the company will turn to vegan leather, similar to what Tesla uses in its models and Porsche with its Taycan. In general, the focus will be on using materials that are more durable/recyclable.
In addition to eliminating leather, Oliver Heilmer said Mini wants to continue using as much recycled materials as possible on board in its vehicles. For the moment, the fabric on the seating comes entirely from recovered materials and the lining underneath is made up of 70-percent recycled content.
Heilmer also leaked a few small details about the next generation of Minis. According to him, the overall goal is for them to have a smaller footprint, though still with an eye to making the driver experience fun, and to offering a high level of performance.
The designer added that he personally believes it is important for the brand to maintain the emotional connection between its models and the people that drive them, as with the John Cooper Works models, which are purely focused on driving pleasure.
All of this said, patience is in order when it comes to the next round of revisions to the Mini lineup. Parent company BMW has decided to extend the usual lifespan of Mini products beyond the usual six years, a decision born out of a desire to save the company 12 billion Euros by the end of 2022.