In a statement released earlier this week by a MINI spokeswoman, the company has confirmed that the MINI Clubvan which debuted at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and was designed to compete with commercial rivals such as the Ford Transit Connect will be dropped from U.S showrooms due to slow sales and pressure from established domestic rivals such as the Ford Transit Connect commercial van. When MINI first introduced the Clubvan, it was designed to give buyers a premium alternative to established rivals such as the fore-mentioned Transit Connect while its small size promised better maneuverability in tight city streets. Unfortunately these two traits were not enough to not only make it stand out against the established competition here in this country, but it also fell victim to the effects of the long running “Chicken Tax” which adds a 25 percent tariff on any commercial vehicle that is imported to the U.S. Nathalie Bauers MINI’s Communications Manager, revealed the extent of the Clubvan’s failure by stating that the Clubvan only achieved a dismal 50 sales during its brief period here in the United States.
Performance for the Clubvan came from a naturally aspirated 1.6 liter four cylinder engine borrowed from the base Clubman which was good for a meager 121 horsepower and could be mated to either a six speed manual gearbox or a six speed automatic. This allowed the Clubvan to haul 826 pounds of cargo, which is not bad for a vehicle of its size but nowhere near the 1600 lb rating wielded by the bigger Transit Connect. However despite this setback, the MINI Clubvan is still quite popular with commercial buyers in its home European market due to extensive tax breaks as well as its ability to navigate narrow roads which are a common sight throughout the European continent.