By on March 17, 2016

Mini-Clubman-21

As the U.S. auto industry achieved record sales volume in 2015, Mini’s U.S. sales were down 12 percent compared with Mini’s peak in 2013. And despite modest year-over-year growth in 2015, the year didn’t end so well. Mini sales plunged 20 percent in the fourth quarter, and sales have now declined in four of the last five months.

Through the first two months of 2016, U.S. Mini sales are down 13 percent, a loss of nearly 900 sales, even as industry sales grew by more than 3 percent. Indeed, in February, Mini volume plunged 24 percent as overall U.S. new vehicle volume rose to the highest February level since 2001.

Yet this is not a worldwide issue. Globally, Mini sales hit a record high in 2015 and are up 4 percent in the early part of 2016. Will a U.S. rebound soon follow?Lost sales from discontinued Minis (Paceman, Coupe, Roadster) or on-hiatus variants (Convertible) are clearly a factor in the decline. Through the first two months of 2016, sales of those models are down by 655 units.

Yet at the same time, Mini has added those sales right back from the return of a previously on-hiatus model, the Clubman, sales of which increased by – we’re not making this up – 655 units in January and February.2013 Mini Countryman RedSales of once “popular” Minis, however, are now genuinely uncommon by the standards of typical small cars.

Mini USA averaged approximately 1,900 monthly Countryman sales in 2014; fewer than 1,300 ever since. After a surprising 11-percent upward swing to more than 2,100 sales in December – we know BMW has some tricks up its sleeve for end-of-year sales spikes – only 1,085 Countrymans were sold during the first two months of 2016. The Countryman’s sharp 36-percent decline comes despite a 78-percent increase in subcompact crossover sales.mini-cooper-5-door-45The Cooper Hardtop 2-Door, Mini’s original and best-selling model, lost 28 percent of its February sales and is down 23 percent so far this year. Only a portion of those lost sales were made up for by the year-old Cooper Hardtop 4-Door, which topped the Mini sales charts in January but then posted a 17-percent year-over-year decline in February.

Partly to blame, according to AutoPacific’s Dave Sullivan, is the glacial design shift. “Their vehicles are difficult to tell what is new and what is 10 years old for the common guy,” Sullivan says.

If an absence of freshness is a contributor, slim pickings are hardly a leading factor. As of February 1, Automotive News estimated that Mini had an 83-day supply of new vehicles, greater than the 77-day industry average. Cars.com’s current listings display 3,300 Countrymans and 6,000 Hardtops.

BMW doesn’t need to sell Minis like they’re Civics or Corollas to make a lot of money. With global success, it’s quite likely that a lingering U.S. fade won’t irreparably harm the Mini investment, either. But if BMW wants to replicate its past U.S. Mini success, a change is required. At the current pace, Mini won’t sell as many vehicles in the U.S. this year as the brand did in 2008, back when Mini was adding a third bodystyle to supplement the Hardtop and Convertible.

A remedy? “Maybe,” as Sullivan says, “Mini needs to adopt a marketing campaign that shows some of their vehicles are anything but mini.”

Indeed, in a market which still produces 14 percent of its sales from full-size pickups and their full-size SUV offspring, a market where many consumers continue to link the size of their payment to the size of their vehicle and now encounter no gas pump sticker shock, the very notion of premium-priced small cars is one discrepancy too far.

But a small car exterior with a big car interior? That may be the BMW marketer’s way forward for all Minis in America, the Clubman most obviously.

(Image Source: BMW North America)

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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66 Comments on “Will Mini’s Slow U.S. Fade Soon End?...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    No hip hop titles today?

    “Is Mini Minaj losing its anaconda bite out of sales?”

  • avatar
    Snail Kite

    I find the style to be quite dated at this point.

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    I am a former (2003) Cooper S and current Paceman (base with a couple options) owner. Mini will have a tough time ahead. They are expensive. Base models are underpowered. “Performance” versions don’t have that much power either if you compare JCW versions to similarly priced small cars (Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Focus RS, WRX, WRX STi). You really have to like the uniqueness of the Mini to buy one. I did, still do, but I wish this car aged like the Porsche 911. Distinctly a 911 but with a modern interior. The retro inspired interior, I’m over it. If the Fiat 500X were available when I bought Paceman, I would have bought 500X. For the same price as Mini I would have had awd, a more powerful engine, and unfortunately an extra 2 doors.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatist

      Once out of warranty they are pretty expensive to repair compared to other small cars.

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      As a former Cooper S owner with a fair number of Mini-owning friends, I’d say the brand’s problem is exactly the opposite of what this article says: Minis have become too big and Mini owners don’t like the new design. It was a small, cute car for urban dwellers, and the current car’s dimensions don’t give it any advantage in parallel parking versus other cars.

      Looking around my friend group, I’m seeing Subarus and VWs among the latest round of car purchases. Nobody is re-upping on the Mini.

  • avatar

    Uh…anyone look at their repair records? They’re abysmal.

    I love the original 2-door and how it makes me feel driving it. The 4-door Cooper S is kind of sweet too. It reminds me of all those delightfully wretched BMC/BL designs like the Austin America and its MG variant, the Maxi and the “sweet potato” Austin Allegro.

    While these are vastly better cars than those rolling horror shows, Mini needs to fix its quality control and tell that story honestly. People will tolerate BMW repair rates in a BMW. In a Mini which isn’t so cheap? Not so much. How many repeat buyers/leasees does Mini generate?

    I wouldn’t call this a fade just yet. If Mini focused its lineup better and went to the mats on QC, perhaps more customers will take advantage of the nice lease deals.

    I am glad that Paceman, Coupe and Roadster are gone. They added nothing. Spring is here – I do think the return of a convertible will help. And Mini was always meant to be versatile, so a mini-CUV to compete with the Buick Encore, Honda HR-V and its ilk might compete.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Countryman *is* MINI’s Encore-competitor.

    • 0 avatar
      Jgwag1985

      Well I disagree, Paceman more room than a coupe(Cooper coupe that’s still out, not that chopped roof thing that’s been axed), easier to get in and out of than a coupe. Better handling of potholes, expansion joints. Doesn’t beat you up the way coupe does.

    • 0 avatar
      vtnoah

      They need to change the styling of the Cooper. The redesign makes it look like a cancerous pustule. Change up the pricing. I get it you’re a “premium” small car maker but when you can get twice as much equipment from a comparable Hyundai for half the price, you have a problem. Plus, the Hyundai won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road. I loved the first two generation of the Cooper but the new models they have look like garbage.

  • avatar
    Fred

    So to fix the Mini is to not make it so mini? I give up.

  • avatar
    darex

    The reasons for the decline are clear. The Countryman was the most popular model, but it’s a VERY hard sell now, given that it’s the last model left that has not been redesigned into an F-series model. Consequently, it seems a piece of crap compared to the F54/F55/F56/F57 — and it is! Only a fool would buy one, until the F60 comes out.

    The new Clubman and next Countryman will turn things around for MINI.

    As for anyone who has an R-series MINI, and feels qualified to pronounce judgement on today’s F-series MINIs, you’re not! They are completely different cars in every conceivable way, and they’ve already proven themselves to be more reliable in various rankings, such as CR and JD power.

    • 0 avatar

      I ocnfess to not seeing the repair data on the F-series. Good for them if it’s better. And you’re right about Countryman. It’s only a closeout bargain at this point.

      One other point – this article is kind of click-baitey. It’s one thing to argue that VW is done in the U.S., as Jack has astutely done. It’s another to call Mini’s current status a “slow U.S. fade” when their product line isn’t truly updated.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      How long have the F-series cars been on the market in the U.S.? I ask because cars that are less than two years old shouldn’t have many issues.

      I’d be more interested in how the cars do when outside of the warranty period especially for a brand that reliability wise has been consistently sub par.

      But, I do like the Cooper and the Clubman. Nice, fun to drive cars. Hopefully the mother ship will work out the reliability woes.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      The new Clubman is offering AWD too. It will help immensely, certainly until the next Countryman hits the market.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Just like VW, they’ll need to make up for the credibility they lost/spent selling less reliable, expensive to repair vehicles than their competitors. Long term durability and value retention can’t be proved in a short time, and perception of same takes even longer to change. Providing value to your customers is the only way to grow sales long term. Misleading them can make short term gains, but you only burn customers/credibility once. Then the trust is gone. F-series, R-series, WGAF? B&B, maybe. Customers in aggregate? No way.

  • avatar

    The repair record has been terrible,although according to the 2016 Consumer Reports Annual Auto issue, you can now expect average frequency of repair (which is quite decent in this day and age).

    The styling is decent, but not timeless. If I were in the market, I’d want a few years’ record of at least average repair. Given the fun to drive quotient and the ease of parking in the city, then I would be tempted.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Well, the current Hardtop has been out for 3 model years now, so that is something of a track-record. My own F56 will be two years old come July.

      It can be not-unrealistically argued that a longer track-record can be cited, as it shares components with the BMW F30, and other models, to an extent that would surprise you, but I know for a fact that all the electrical wiring, and coding is identical (i.e. completely shared). The motor is an in-house BMW model. All the packages and tech are shared with BMW’s offerings. In short, very little in the Hardtop is “new.”

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        BMW is far from a pinnacle of quality, at least for those of us who buy used cars without warranties.

        See:
        http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1102878_consumer-reports-avoid-buying-used-2014-bmw-i3-electric-cars

        BMWs seem fine for the lease-a-new-car-every-two-years crowd, I guess.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I can think of a number of reasons why sales would fall:

    1. The price of some Mini products has risen to luxury levels. Since Audi, BMW and Mercedes are now offering entry level models like the CLA, 2 series and A3, Mini products seem overpriced. Most folks would rather have an X1 than a Countryman.

    2. The Cooper is no longer as engaging to drive as it once was. The new model no longer lives up to the “drives like a go-cart” image of the brand and the Ford Focus ST and the Golf GTI are now better and more affordable hot hatches.

    3. Model proliferation is diluting the brand image and stretching the design language well beyond what it was designed for. The Countryman looks like an over inflated Cooper and don’t even get me started on the defunct Paceman and
    coupe.

    4. The bad reliability reputation is finally catching up with them.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      This gets my +1.

      You hit the head more than anything else. The X1/1/2-series/CLA/A3 all play in the same price range, offer the same style to some extent (some are quasi-sedans but most are hatches) and are priced in the same category as the mini which was BMW’s way of getting people into the dealerships in the 20-25K range. Now they have their own branded cars in there at that mark or just higher and Mini is a niche brand that has cache.

      They really need to just full-on go performance with Mini and start offering potent vehicles with premium interiors. They were fun cars 10 years ago but they look basically identical and the redesigns aren’t doing much for their basic value per dollar factor.

      • 0 avatar
        darex

        Not really. A bare-bones A3 or CLA is $30,000, but an modestly equipped one is more like $40,000, which is about $10,000 more than your typically mostly-loaded MINI, or an entire class above, price-wise. I don’t see a problem with that.

        The main thing about MINI is that no other car, especially in its class, in our market, can be customized and equipped exactly as the customer wishes, right down to a manual transmission. Certainly not anything made by Ford, VW/Audi or MB! That, too, is a huge draw, at least for me.

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          MSRP of a Base Countryman is $35K – that’s very much in line with X1 pricing.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          We’ve already been talked to death about how these vehicles are mostly leases so if you compare a loaded 2-Series/CLA/A3 as a lease vs. a purchased Mini or leased the pricing comes much closer. Plus, price wise they may be separated by a 1/3rd higher the market for these vehicles is the same people largely. If you can afford 25K for a very small vehicle you’re probably cross-shopping the A3 and CLA.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    The wife just got a new Mini Cooper. We looked at the Fiat 500 but just felt the interior quality was no match for the Mini.

    I am really impressed with it since much so that I must confess I’m more than a bit jealous. What sells it to me is the interior its just so far ahead of its peers its unreal. I have a BMW 3 series but the Mini has actually made me think that I won’t be having another one anytime soon. The reason being that I feel let down by my cars soulless interior. My options are a Class but I dislike the exterior and performance or a Jaguar XE. Im reluctant to go down the XE route because its cramped in the back. So frankly my choices are not good. Im now holding out for a Jaguar F pace. But here’s the thing. If BMW got their ass into gear they make a 3 series type of car with Mini soul. Best of it is that they have the Triumph brand to use to pull off the same retro trick they did with MINI so why on earth won’t BMW give me the car that I want? They are driving me into the hands of the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I am honestly surprised people are still into the retro thing. I mean no snark by this but I guess any style is better than no style. But the German big 3… well, maybe just BMW and Audi…. have definitely gone too far with the design conservatism. To be fair though the 3 has never had an “exciting” design. Always just clean and classy.

      Maybe you should take a look at the IS350. Those Nakamichi tape deck interiors definitely have have more character than their German competition. Just no stickshift or DCT which I don’t think I could personally do.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Test driving an IS on Saturday morning and very much looking forward to it. If rear legroom isn’t that important to you, the interior space is impressive for the overall size. I thought the seats felt great. They’re pricey, but as someone who holds onto cars for a long time I’m deeply tempted by the relatively low long term TCO and well regarded service departments.

        • 0 avatar
          fvfvsix

          I’ve had my IS350 for a year now. Skipped Lexus’ 6 month free “bug fix” service. No need. I think it’s the only car I’ve ever bought that hasn’t had a single initial build quality issue.

          Great reliability. I like its looks. Fast enough to give me whiplash when I drive it. What’s not to like?

          • 0 avatar
            darex

            The touchpad infotainment controller? I hear it’s horrible.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            @darex – The IS line still has the mouse, and it sucks, but I almost never need to use it (really great button layout). iDrive is generations ahead. I did drive an NX with the touchpad, and it is definitely not an “eyes-free” interface either. I think Lexus really designed their UI to be secondary to the button arrangements.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            @ darex, you heard correctly, at least based on my 90 minutes of wheel time in an NX 200t. The joystick–You guys meant joystick rather than mouse, didn’t you?–is no great shakes, but it’s reasonably intuitive and I prefer it to a touchscreen. (I have little to no experience with the current German interfaces other than watching a friend operate the one in his 3-series, so I can’t comment on those.)

            The touch pad strikes me as the result of a marketing VP’s having won an argument over an engineering VP:
            “But, but this is worse.”
            “Doesn’t matter! We’ve gotten flak over the joystick. We’re getting rid of it.”

            Addendum: Fortunately, Lexus hasn’t totally done away with buttons and knobs, so I was mostly able to get away with avoiding the touch pad. *Maybe* it’s really only necessary for periodic changes to long-term driver preference settings, and *maybe* it’s not terrible in that regard. But my initial impression was that it’s an awful system.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        My wife has already spec’d her new Clubman. I begged her to get an IS300 instead. Cost will roughly be the same. FML.

        • 0 avatar
          fvfvsix

          Last month, I got a base clubman as a loaner car while my wife’s R56 was in the shop for a new battery.I spent some time wringing it out, and I have to say I walked away impressed. High points for me in my ~75 or so miles of driving were the engine (I never thought I’d say that about a 3 cylinder motor, but dang that thing has a surprising amount of torque) and the overall solidness of the platform. It feels very “un-mini”, in the sense that it soaks up pavement imperfections and is dead quiet at high speeds. I really like what they’ve done with the new interior, but it’s lost a lot of its character from the previous generation. I’m not a die-hard MINI fan, so I’m okay with that. My wife…not so much. To sum it up, I think the Clubman is a fantastic car, but just an “OK” mini. I don’t have a clue why anybody would by a current model Countryman with this thing in the showrooms, though. It is night and day better.

    • 0 avatar

      What about one of the new Infiniti Q50 3.0t AWD? You get lots of space for your money there. You can probably handily pick up a (next class up) Cadillac CTS with discounts for these prices, as well. Or perhaps a nicely loaded Volvo S60 T6 R-Design. Acura TLX? Audi A4? You have plenty of good choices!

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      No love for the new A4?

  • avatar
    markf

    I know enthusiast really like the Mini but much like the VW Beetle I will always see it as a “Chick Car” Not trying to insult any Mini owners who read this page.

    Just curious, what are the demographics of Mini? I am in Germany and they sell Mini’s tax free to US military personnel and they seem to be fairly popular, though not as popular as 3-5 years ago. I would say about 80-90% of Mini owners here are middle aged women who LOVE the Mini because it is “cute”

    Again, not trying insult Mini owners here, just really curious what the demographics stateside are…..

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      As I recall, demographics in the US were about 50/50 male-female a couple years ago. I don’t care about the “chick” perception…my wife thought ours was cute, I found it a blast to drive. Win/win.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      I know 4 MINI owners and it’s split 50-50. The Miata has the same label as a “chick’s car”. Yeah, sure ok…sorry you’ll have to wipe the grin off my face….

      I stopped caring about people’s perceptions back in my early 20s. It’s a pretty freeing experience.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Cheap gas is probably a factor. “Sporty with great gas mileage” was one of MINI’s strengths. With gas under 2 bucks a gallon, MPG isn’t the issue it used to be.

  • avatar
    Randomite

    Slowing sales? Consider this:

    – Hackneyed, gimmicky styling
    – Poor value proposition
    – Daunting and confusing array of options
    – Iffy reliability

  • avatar
    JMII

    Just like Fiat I can not for the life of me understand how you run an entire make or brand based on ONE model that comes in slightly different versions and various sizes of the same darn thing. Its like Hummer all over again just on a smaller scale. My wife would love a Mini to replace here Volvo C30 – it checks all the right boxes: small, fun, hatchback, turbo, upscale. Then you sit inside the Mini and stare at what appears to be an interior built from random round, old parts. I know they were going for a certain look or feel, I get its retro, but its just so Playskool in there. You got the huge Flavor Flav clock for a speed-o, wanna-be aircraft switches for standard functions, a joke of a nav system, along with a crappy entertainment setup. For the money they are charging you would expect some decent design and nice pieces… but nope its scary bad inside. Plus as noted they are not reliable at all. At this point their claim to fame is you can customize them with so many options your head will spin (cool I think this) and somehow they manage to hold their value really well. Personally I can’t tell the various years or versions apart other then anytime I see a four door I immediately discount it since its not a “real” Mini. Maybe just keep the original 2 door around and call it a BMW 0.5 series.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      To be fair, the F chassis MINIs actually feel somewhat luxurious now. We drive a new Clubman back to back with a Countryman (R chassis) and the difference in quality was striking. The new Hardtop is miles beyond the R53 and R56.

  • avatar
    Von

    I can see how all of 3 people that legitimately bought this over a Miata due to very specific and unusual circumstances. For everyone else, I always thought of them more as a fashion accessory than a car. Overprice, not that reliable, not that practical, not especially great for anything other than styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The back seats in the hardtop fit a rear facing Chicco Keyfit 30. Not doable in a Miata. We still have one of the cars you mention and the Miata purchase was canceled in 2010 because of upcoming kid plans.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Agreed, Quentin. Retro or not, the two-box design makes the Hardtop a better packaged vehicle than a lot of what’s on the market today. I had a ride in back of a friend’s R56 and didn’t experience the headroom issues that I have in a lot of four-door sedans.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    Maybe BMW can buy Yugo and bring back another worthless product by making it a new worthless product in modern skin with all the disasters of the original. I wonder how well a $25 yugo would sell with the wonderful breadbox retro styling that it begs to have with genuine fake mousefur psuedo rayon seat coverings and door panels made from cardboard boxes covered in the same.

  • avatar
    wmba

    BMW bet big on that UKL platform in two wheelbase lengths. But the MINI is now too quirky, especially the dash – beyond ugly. The BMW derivatives, known as 2 Series in Europe, have been getting mediocre reviews, as the new X1 here. All built on the same basic FWD platform in two wheelbases.

    Going downmarket and FWD to boot seems to have allowed BMW to produce vehicles less nice than VW MQB, and the new 2.0t B48 turbo gas engine is a further demerit. Not as nice as the GTI unit, nor the older N20 turbo. When they put this underachiever in the 228i, that’ll be a shock. What’s OK for a MINI and some FWD BMW underachievers will be a downer in a real BMW.

    Oh well, time for some electric carbon fiber electronic beauties.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Can we start a Death Watch for Mini, Fiat and Smart in the USA?

    It is overdue. These vehicles are not well suited for the us market, are overpriced for their capabilities, have poor reliability and a miserable dealer network.

    Anyone buying one of these instead of a Honda Fit, Nissan Versa or Toyota Prius should think again.

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      Really? Let’s hear it for bland Japanese cars, because we shouldn’t have to think about what we drive. 3 squares and a piggy bank eh?

    • 0 avatar
      oleladycarnut

      I’m always amazed at the flippant comments about MINIs. The MINI culture is alive and vibrant in the US. I do wonder how many people who compare a MINI to a Fit, Versa or, good grief, a Prius, has even driven the MINI.

      There is absolutely no equivalent to the MINI on the US market today. It’s a car one has to want to own and has to want to maintain.

      The new F56 is miles beyond in reliability and interior quality, but that doesn’t detract from the absolute sheer fun of the first two generations.

      It’s a MINI thing.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    The Clubman is a manual transmission, AWD, turbo station wagon. All the hipsters should be putting their money where their mouth is. My wife is.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I’ll assume that the majority of guys driving Minis utter the phrase: “It’s my wife’s car, but it’s pretty cool to drive.”

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      One of my Lemons teammates has a R54 Cooper as his daily driver. He’s a NASA regional champion driver and manages to turn fast times consistently over 4-hour racing stints, despite the fact that he lights up a cigarette every 20 minutes when he’s not in the car. I would not call the Mini a chick car.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I hear a lot about Mini’s reliability problems. Apparently it is an expensive car that comes with FCA’s quality issues?

    What are the problems owners have? I hear about reliability woes, but I haven’t seen any data verifying that claim.

    I kind of like the Mini, but that huge rear side window for the back seat with no vent leaves me wondering about why anyone would want to be a passenger in one.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      My friend owns one, a non-turbo 5-speed manual (not a lot of power). He bought it used with 75K miles or so and had to fix a number of typical electrical issues (back latch, and a half-dozen other minor things that he fixed himself – it had the christmas-tree dash when he bought it).

      But now, still at under 100K miles, he has a bad bearing in the transmission. That will be a major repair.

      And the supercharged ones have problems with the superchargers losing their oil (oil chamber on each end of the supercharger which needs to be regularly checked – if you run one dry, you will have problems), also before 100K miles.

      They are definitely not in the same reliability league as Honda or Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      We’ve owned two:

      ’06 R53
      In-warranty repairs:
      -Thermostat, & (I think) power steering pump motor fix

      Out of warranty repair:
      -Air conditioning refrigerant line severed by contact with transmission. BMW covered the repair at their cost ($900)

      ’13 R56
      In-warranty repairs:
      -Rear hatch chrome trim detached.
      -Battery Replaced

      Keep in mind that both of these are “last production year” models, which in theory would be more reliable than the first year models.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife drives a MY03 Mini Cooper S – yellow with black stripes and a 6-speed. It’s flashy, fun as hell, and the only vehicle that really gets my wife interested in the car she drives. I mean she fills her own tires with air now, and gets oil changes done on time, and takes it in to the dealership when something goes bad.

    Reliability? We’ve only put 10k on it – going from 68k to 78k miles in 18 months of ownership. Cost has been one speed sensor and one front wheel bearing. Also the latch on the glove box broke.

    It starts every morning, and is a blast to drive hard. I mean everything I’ve driven since feels like a sloppy mess on the road. The tight steering and suspension aren’t the greatest comfort-wise on Michigan roads, but the positives overall outweigh the negatives – if you like to drive.

    Funny thing about being 13 years old – no one, except the most die-hard Mini fan – would know that. I suppose that’s a negative in the selling world but a positive if you’re an owner.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    “Cost has been one speed sensor and one front wheel bearing. Also the latch on the glove box broke.”

    None of which would have been likely on a Honda of that age and mileage.

  • avatar
    Louis XVI

    I’ve had my Mini convertible for four years, and have already put almost 100,000 miles on it. It’s by far (really far) the best car I’ve ever had. No mechanical failures other than typical wear and tear (e.g., tires); it’s a ton of fun to drive, even as a daily driver; and, to my surprise, it handles the Minnesota winter just fine.

    When it eventually wears out, I’m pretty sure I’ll buy another one.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Had a 2012 Countryman S AWD for three years. By far the least reliable and most trouble prone car I’ve ever had.

    Trouble started a few months in with a leaking moonroof that was so bad, I could hear water sloshing around in the car. Sprung an interior leak eventually and destroyed a $2500 laptop and ton of personal documents. At one point, I kept coming back to my parked car with the windows rolled halfway down. Then they started going down on their own while I was driving it. Required all the window motors be replaced. Faulty gas gauge, so I ran out of gas while driving to work one morning. Electricity cut out as I was pulling onto the on ramp/toll booth of a highway. Engine quickly followed. And on and on and on.

    Just one issue right after another nearly from the moment I got it to the moment I gave it back. I don’t think I ever went three months without filling out a repair history field on TrueDelta. I wouldn’t touch Mini again with a ten foot pole.

    Great fun to drive, though.


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  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Kyree Williams, United States