The Isetta was a popular BMW minicar built in the 1950s and ‘60sEnlarge Photo
For the older European readers out there, the mention of the words BMW Isetta probably conjures up nostalgic images of little, egg-shaped cars trundling around the city, with styling that looked possibly as cheerful and non-threatening as a car could ever get. Built in the 1950s and ‘60s, the BMW Isetta was one of the best-selling minicars of all time, and BMW ended up producing close to 160,000 units in just seven years - but apparently that wasn't enough considering the news that BMW is expected to revive the Isetta brand to sell city cars under once again.
The news comes following speculation that BMW was considering adding a fourth brand to its portfolio that would be able to sell cars developed under the 'Project i' initiative
, a rumor that was denied by CEO Norbert Reithofer
. Instead, BMW will use a sub-brand to sell the Project i cars, rather than an entire new brand, much in the way BMW's 'M' performance division sells M-badged cars.
The exact quote from Reithofer comes from a speech given earlier this week, in which he confirmed that BMW's "Project i is working on a Megacity vehicle as well as on new mobility concepts. The board has now decided: this auto will be launched on the market as a sub-brand of BMW. As BMW is the innovation driver within the group, the decision for a sub-brand under BMW is the most logical step."
This is where the Isetta brand comes in - while BMW has yet to officially confirm the news, there are several big clues that BMW will be reviving the Isetta name to sell off its Project i cars. The biggest clue comes from a new ad campaign for the BMW Museum in Munich. Interestingly, the ad exclusively features miniature Isetta models travelling around an urban environment in stop-motion - 'subtly' highlighting the car's small nature and intended use in cities.
Powertrain options for the car are still uncertain, but many are speculating that it may be launched with a small diesel or petrol engine, with a move towards electric vehicles shortly afterwards. In the meantime, you can check out the very subtle ad that BMW has just released for the BMW Museum below.