mini connected.automotiveIT

Only iPhone owners can currently use Mini Connected (Photo: Mini)

PARIS - Mini's in-car connectivity system, which so far has only been available to users of Apple's iPhone will soon provide an option for Android-based smartphones as well.

"We'll of course expand the phone options available and it won't be very long," said Oliver Friedmann, head of product management for BMW's Mini brand. "It will happen in the near-to-medium future, and the platform will be open not just for the iPhone at the latest with the new Mini generation," he added in an interview with automotiveIT at the auto show here.

Many competitors such as the Opel Adam urban car will offer a completely new infotainment system that allows both Apple and Android phones to connect to it. The Opel Adam will come to market in early 2013.

Friedmann said the two-year-old Mini Connected system opted for initial iPhone-only connectivity because the Apple brand was seen as a near-perfect fit with Mini.

One-in-five Mini buyers choose the Mini Connected system, which accesses the internet through a driver's iPhone and makes available a range of infotainment, comfort and safety Apps. The option adds roughly 1,450 euros to the cost of a Mini.

In the interview, Friedmann also said the Mini brand, whose global sales rose 8.3 pc to 192,652 cars in the first eight months of the year, isn't planning an electric version of the Mini any time soon.

After several years of running test programs with so-called E-Minis, the brand has concluded that it wants to keep its electrification options open. "We don't want to be rushed," said Friedmann, adding that the average relatively low fuel consumption of the Mini fleet also contributes to this lack of urgency.

Said the Mini executive: "Because we're very efficient, there's no pressure."