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Mini (stylised as MINI) is a British automotive marque founded in 1969, owned by German automotive company BMW since 2000, and used by them for a range of small cars. The word Mini has been used in car model names since 1959, and in 1969 it became a marque in its own right when the name “Mini” replaced the separate “Austin Mini” and “Morris Mini” car model names. BMW acquired the marque in 1994 when it bought Rover Group (formerly British Leyland), which owned Mini, among other brands.
The original Mini was a line of British small cars manufactured by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), which in 1966 became part of British Motor Holdings. This merged with Leyland Motors in 1968 to form British Leyland. In the 1980s, British Leyland was broken-up and in 1988 Rover Group, including Mini, was acquired by British Aerospace. Mini models included the Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven, the Countryman, Moke, 1275GT and Clubman. Performance versions of these models used the name Cooper, due to a partnership with racing legend John Cooper. The original Mini continued in production until 2000.
In 1994, Rover Group was acquired by BMW, being broken up in 2000 with BMW retaining the Mini brand. Development of a modern successor to the Mini began in 1995 and an entirely new Mini model was launched in 2001 by BMW. The current Mini range includes the Hardtop/Hatch/Convertible (three-door hatchback), Clubman (estate), Countryman (five-door crossover), Coupe/Roadster and Paceman (three-door crossover based on the Countryman).