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Green Mini to undercut hybrids

Lean machine: The Mini Cooper D uses just 3.9L/100km.

$33,750 pricetag for Mini Cooper D diesel, the most efficient car on Aussie roads

17 Mar 2009

MINI’S green machine will undercut the price of small hybrids when it goes on sale in May at $33,750.

The Mini Cooper D diesel will be the most fuel-efficient model in Australia at 3.9L/100km on the official score.

It can also claim to be the cleanest, with a C02 emissions figure of 104g/km.

Mini Australia will pitch the Cooper D below the Toyota Prius hybrid at $37,400 and the Honda Civic IMA hybrid at $35,990.

It expects to sell around 200 Mini Cooper D models this year.

The Mini Cooper D will be the first non-hybrid with idle-stop engine technology, which shuts off the engine when idling to save fuel. It also has a raft of other fuel-saving measures including regenerative braking, a streamlined underbody panel and a switchable water pump.

Previously, this technology had not been available to Australia as Mini considered the country to be too hot and therefore expose the idle-stop technology to possible durability issues.

Mini Australia requested this classification be reviewed and after further consideration, Mini decided the idle-stop technology would have no problem in our conditions.

The final hurdle was to secure production volume, which is now considerably easier, given the worldwide slump in car sales.

However, Mini Australia national manager, Justin Hocevar, told GoAuto the factory had still limited supply to 200 cars this year, despite the global sales downturn.

“It is tight on supply,” he said. “I am constantly looking for more and the dealers tell me they can sell more.” Asked if the Mini Cooper D would struggle because it is not identifiably green like the uniquely-shaped Prius, Mr Hocevar said the Mini’s appearance was an advantage.

“The discernable differences are the badges, a pronounced power dome on the bonnet and different front air intake. There is some difference, but I think our whole approach to this is just because you are driving a green car doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style… or safety or performance.” Mr Hocevar implied customers who really wanted to make less of an impact on the environment would pick the Mini Cooper D, referring to concerns expressed about the environmental impact of hybrids in the production and post-use phases.

“There are a lot of cars that will come to market with lower (consumption and emissions), but we need to have a real look at whether they are sustainable the whole way through the manufacturing, the life of the vehicle and the disposal of the vehicle,” he said.

“Whereas we think we have a solution that is right for the times in that the manufacturing process is not excessive and it has low fuel consumption and emissions.”

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