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Mini Moke will not return

The Moke was exhumed and completely revamped as the Beachcomber concept car (pictured above).

Instead, Mini is concentrating on a pair of two-door sports models - the Coupe and Roadster - as it expands its product lineup for 2012 and beyond.

The Moke was exhumed and completely revamped as the Beachcomber concept car at this year's Detroit Motor Show, but the minimalist approach - without side doors - has not cleared the safety barrier for production.

"The idea of a modern day interpretation of the Mini Moke is sound, but maybe it can't work because of safety issues," says Cypselus von Frankenberg of Mini. "Beachcomber, for us, was a concept and we created Countryman from that."

The five-door, high-rider Countryman is confirmed for Australia in January and is also expected to provide the basis for a new contender in the World Rally Championship.

Prodrive, the British motorsport company that owns Ford Performance Racing in Australia, has been working on a Mini project for more than two years and its WRC program for 2011 is expected to be confirmed within a month. It will be the first time since the 1960s, when the original Mini dominated the Monte Carlo Rally, that the Mini name has been involved in top-level rallying.

On the road-car front, von Frankenger is ruling out any potential for a short-wheelbase, all-wheel drive Mini codenamed Canyon. It was originally expected at the Paris Motor Show in October as a development of the Countryman.

"We can never say it won't happen but it is only an idea," he says. "Even if it went beyond an idea now, it would take a long time to reach production."

He says the emphasis at Mini is on the Roadster and Coupe. "We are very busy on Countryman and then the Coupe and Roadster. A short-wheelbase, all-wheel drive coupe is possible, but very unlikely."

The release of the two-seater models will bring the current Mini range up to six models, with the Mini hatch, cabrio, Clubman and Countryman now all in showrooms. There is talk in Europe of a future Micro-mini, perhaps as a battery-powered city car, but von Frankenberg hints that the current six-pack is enough.

"That's a pretty good result," he says. "We build the Countryman at the Magna plant in Graz, Austria because Oxford is at near full capacity. We would have a lot of trouble adding more than two models in the future."