Designer says fabrics already recycled
Plans to offer more luxurious materials that are less harmful
Mini is preparing to drop one of its most popular options, the brand’s lead designer says, at it moves to offer a more sustainable alternative to cover the car’s seats while offering something even more luxurious.
54 percent of Minis (in the UK) offered real leather seats, but soon that figure will be zero worldwide, Mini designer Oliver Heilmer told Autocar. It’s one of many changes the brand is looking at as it works to offer a product that is more sustainable over the long term, he said.
“We don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable,” he said. “We’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather.”
Heilmer told Autocar that Mini’s fabric seats are already 100 percent recycled material, and that the lining underneath is 70 percent recycled. “It’s inventive simplicity. Materials will be recycled, but they’re luxurious at the same time. And inventive in terms of function. For instance, we used cork in the Urbanaut [concept]. The aesthetics will be coming more from a home perspective, rather than an automotive one.”
He said that Mini should be fun, not strictly about performance, but that ease of use and ease of driving is the key component he thinks will last. Though that doesn’t mean the end of John Cooper Works products, it just means that they could be different going forward.
While the designer respects Mini’s heritage, “creating the smallest footprint for each of our products is a driver” and that means both its physical footprint and it’s footprint on the world.