Instead of leather, the new seats will be made entirely from recycled fabric, with an underlining that’s 70 percent recycled. The company says it is aiming for a more timeless design, rather than one that becomes outdated after a season. It will also be increasing the proportion of electric vehicles that it manufactures.
For BMW, removing leather from Minis is just a small part of its drive towards increased sustainability. In August last year, the company announced it would be switching the interiors of its 5-Series cars to vegan leather. It also revealed it was developing a luxury electric SUV.
Other car companies are beginning to make the switch too. In 2019, Ford launched its first all-vegan car with a leather-free interior. A study last year looked at the materials used to make various cars and concluded that the Renault Twizy, with its vegan leather interior, was the most sustainable.
“We don’t need leather any more in the future, because we don’t believe it’s sustainable,” Mini design boss Oliver Heilmer told Autocar. “We’re totally convinced that we will have modern and high-value products without leather.”