october2007/mini-render.jpg    The upcoming Mini SUV, thus far dubbed Sports Activity Vehicle , or SAV, is likely to be the basis for a front-wheel drive hatchback in order to keep costs down, today’s reports say. The SAV is due to debut at the Paris motor show this October, though the brand’s biggest hatch isn’t likely to come out until 2012.


There is confusion about what the SAV’s platform will be based on, with some sources maintaining a modified Clubman chassis underpins the vehicle, while others say the existing Mini front end will be welded to a longer floorpan. What is certain is that engineering of the SAV was in part performed by Magna Steyr, with the Austrian company also responsible for producing 80,000 of the vehicle annually. The BMW X3, which is currently assembled at the factory, will make room for the newest Mini when its assembly moves to the U.S.

The new SUV will bring total Mini sales to 340,000 units per year, though analysts believe it needs to sell 500,000 before it can pay for its own R&D programs and not rely on parent BMW to bankroll them, according to Autocar reports.