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MINI will go bigger if customers ask for it

Executives say a MINI doesn\'t necessarily have to be small.

Often criticized for the size of its not-so-mini models, BMW's MINI division has revealed that it's open to the idea of introducing bigger cars in the coming years.

"I'm not sure who set the traditional size limits for what a MINI should be? MINI doesn't have to mean small in size. There are brand lines set by traditionalists and historic customers, and I respect that, but at the same time the world moves on," said Sebastian Mackensen, the brand's senior vice president, in an interview with British magazine Autocar.

Mackensen stressed that customers, not brand purists, will ultimately have a say in how big future MINIs will be. However, he also hinted that the car maker isn't currently planning on going much bigger than the new second-gen Clubman (pictured) that was introduced last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Built on BMW's UKL platform, the Clubman stretches roughly 166 inches long, 72 inches wide and 57 inches tall, dimensions that earn it the honor of being the biggest MINI-badged model ever built. It might lose that title when the next Countryman arrives because previous rumors claim its length will check in at over 167 inches.

At the other end of the spectrum, it sounds like MINI has ruled out going smaller than the two-door Cooper Hardtop. Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board member and MINI's top exec, recently revealed that the company's on-again, off-again entry-level city car has been shelved for good.

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