BMW MINI have confirmed that they have started work on a range of main battle tanks in an attempt to break into the lucrative defence market. CEO Ian Robertson is delighted with what he is calling ‘The next step in the evolution of the Mini’ as they prepare to deliver what they see as an ideal replacement for the US Army’s ageing fleet of M1 Abrams tanks.
‘We’ve been working on this for a while now but have had to keep it top secret. When we released the Mini Countryman 4x4 many people thought that we were taking the piss. Hopefully now they can see that it was just another step in the Mini’s natural progression from the small, stylish city car that became a 60s icon, to a 30 foot long, 60 tonne war machine.’ said Mr Robertson, before adding ‘Let’s be honest, it’s the only logical way to explain the existence of the Mini Clubman.’.
The first Mini Combatman is expected to roll off the production line in mid 2012. At a hefty £5 million each it certainly is not cheap and is aimed primarily at the commercial market, but will come with a vast array of features as standard. These include air conditioning, front fog lights, body coloured bumpers, and a 120mm cannon capable of destroying targets at a range in excess of 2,500 metres – a handy addition at rush hour on the M25.
Optional extras will allow owners to upgrade to dual-zone climate control, built-in sat-nav/multi-media centre, and depleted uranium strike plates, which will have the added benefit of increasing the Euro NCAP safety rating and lowering insurance premiums. This will be a welcome boost in times of spiralling renewal prices.
Although the Combatman’s main clients are expected to be international armed forces a number of orders have already been received from Premier League footballers. So from next summer you can expect them to replace the traditional Range Rovers and become a common sight on the streets of Chelsea.
Mr Robertson is confident that the latest addition will continue the success of the Mini brand.
‘They will be built to the same uncompromising standards as the rest of our hugely popular and successful Mini range. Although it is new ground for us we are extremely fortunate to have the support of BMW behind us, as the Combatman is essentially a scaled-down, less ugly version of the BMW X6.’