MUNICH — Mini will bring a pair of new battery-powered models to market next year as it races toward an all-electric future by the start of the next decade.
But geopolitics will keep them out of American garages for now.
That's because the new subcompact crossover and two-door hardtop will be made in China and would be subject to a 25 percent U.S. tariff. Importing them would tack several thousand dollars onto their sticker prices.
But Mini has a plan.
"Either we find a way to produce [the models] at a lower cost standpoint, or we produce [them] in another region of the world," Mini chief Stefanie Wurst said ahead of the Munich auto show last week. "We are well underway evaluating those cars for the [Americas] region."
Michael Peyton, vice president of Mini of the Americas, said the automaker will announce a decision on the U.S. prospects in the fourth quarter.
"It'll be good news for North America," Peyton 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."
Mini is considering production alternatives outside of China to build the products, Peyton told Automotive News at a launch event for the electric Countryman crossover.
"When you have significant tariffs from an import standpoint and from an overall manufacturing cost [perspective], we've got to address those," Peyton said. "There's some good things in place from a BMW Group standpoint that will particularly enable North America."