In the late 1950s, the British Motor Corp. (BMC) contracted Alec Issigonis to create a small car for the company. In 1958 a prototype was built and approved, and the first Minis started rolling off assembly lines in 1959. By the end of the 1960s, more than 2 million Minis had been produced. The vehicle was pulled from the United States in 1968, in the wake of strict new emissions regulations. The MINI name was revived in 1994 when the Rover Group was purchased by BMW. The new MINI Cooper, a premium subcompact, was introduced in spring 2002. BMW has since expanded the product line to include new body styles, and it has plans for further expansion. Thoroughly modern in every way, right down to its BMW-engineered suspension, steering and brakes, the MINI Cooper has become one of America's most desirable small cars.