The Truth About Cars » MINI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » MINI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Chart Of The Day: Mini Countryman Sales Are Crumbling In The United States http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mini-countryman-sales-crumbling-united-states/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chart-day-mini-countryman-sales-crumbling-united-states/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 12:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1141985 A rising tide lifts all boats? Not in the Mini Countryman’s case. One of the oldest models on the block, the Countryman, is suffering from a sharp decline in U.S. sales even as consumers develop greater interest in subcompact crossovers. The addition of new rivals from rival automakers certainly doesn’t help. But the Countryman may […]

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Mini Countryman sales chart TTAC 3A rising tide lifts all boats?

Not in the Mini Countryman’s case.

One of the oldest models on the block, the Countryman, is suffering from a sharp decline in U.S. sales even as consumers develop greater interest in subcompact crossovers.

The addition of new rivals from rival automakers certainly doesn’t help. But the Countryman may also be affected by the arrival of a four-door version of the regular Mini Cooper. That Mini uses new engines and is significantly more economical.

2015 Mini Countryman green

Countryman volume is down 26 percent through the first seven months of 2015. Most recently, in July, year-over-year Countryman sales were off July 2014’s pace by 45 percent, a loss of 980 units.

Meanwhile, the category in which it competes is up 64 percent this year thanks to continued gains from vehicles like the Buick Encore and added sales from new urban crossovers like the Jeep Renegade and Honda HR-V. Subtract Mini from the equation and sales of these small, sometimes-AWD tall cars are up 74 percent.

The Countryman certainly lacks a certain freshness, and it wasn’t a terribly common vehicle at the best of times. (In the Countryman’s best ever month, August of last year, 2,412 were sold.) Through 56 months, Mini USA has reported 91,721 Countryman sales. Countryman volume peaked in 2014 after a 26-percent increase in 2012, a 1-percent uptick in 2013, and a 6-percent improvement last year.

Mini is on track for fewer than 17,000 Countryman sales in 2015, the approximate number of Countrymans sold in the model’s first full year.

Mini has, however, sold 9,297 copies of the Cooper 4-Door already this year, which more than makes up for the lost Countryman sales.

Perhaps true passenger cars can still be helpful, after all.

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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Who Reads The Instruction Manual? (Update: No One) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/reads-instruction-manual-update-no-one/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/reads-instruction-manual-update-no-one/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:22:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152689 J.D. Power and Associates on Tuesday released its study of in-car technology that showed many new car buyers either don’t use features available on their car or aren’t aware they exist. According to the study, at least 20 percent of buyers haven’t used 16 of 33 features targeted by the study, including in-vehicle concierge services such as OnStar (43 […]

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manual characteristics

J.D. Power and Associates on Tuesday released its study of in-car technology that showed many new car buyers either don’t use features available on their car or aren’t aware they exist.

According to the study, at least 20 percent of buyers haven’t used 16 of 33 features targeted by the study, including in-vehicle concierge services such as OnStar (43 percent); mobile Internet connectivity (38 percent); automatic parking aids (35 percent); heads-up displays (33 percent); and apps (32 percent).

Owners said their smartphones probably do all those things better, and who has time to learn systems when you have to text and drive anyway?


“While dealers are expected to play a key role in explaining the technology to consumers, the onus should be on automakers to design the technology to be intuitive for consumers,” said Kristin Kolodge, who is the executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.”

Ongoing cost could be a concern too. For example, Chevrolet’s mobile WiFi hotspot, which is equipped in all of its new cars, requires a subscription to OnStar in addition to monthly fees for data usage beyond the initial 3 GB of data. A monthly plan for data could range between $25 and $85 a month for 200 MB to 5 GB of data.

Beyond what the dealer doesn’t tell you about your new car, there’s no real resource for drivers to learn about their car, is there? (Answer: maybe.)

The study doesn’t directly ask the question, but many car manuals are disorganized encyclopedias of frustration that few people seem to use. For example, a current-generation Mini comes with seven booklets (the longest is 222 pages, the shortest is a fold-out brochure) one USB drive and three informational cards.

(Included in the instruction manual are gems such as: “Due to system limitations, warnings may not be issued at all, or may be issued late or improperly. Therefore, always be alert and ready to intervene …” Owner’s manuals are too much and not enough, all at the same time.)

More importantly than wasting your time, unused tech may be wasting money.

“In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers,” Kolodge said in a statement announcing the findings.

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Fiat Chrysler Tops Annual ‘Total Quality’ Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118545 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality. Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors. FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, […]

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FCA US HQ

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality.

Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors.

FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, including the Fiat 500 and 500e; Dodge Charger, Challenger and Durango; and, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

While FCA took the top spot this year, General Motors and Volkswagen followed closely behind, tying for second place, one point behind FCA on a 1,000-point scale.

According to Strategic Vision, 46,000 consumer responses were used for the study, which rated consumer satisfaction along with problems in each vehicle. The Mini Cooper Roadster earned the highest score among new cars. Land Rover was tops among luxury automakers, Ram was first among non-luxury automakers.

BMW had six segment winners including the i3, 3-Series Wagon, X4 and X5; Mini Cooper Roadster and Countryman.

According to the Detroit News, the Total Quality Index study comes out less than a week before the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout survey that last year ranked all FCA brands below industry average.

Of course, TTAC has never really been a big fan of the report anyway.

 

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[UPDATED] 2016 MINI Clubman Official Images Revealed Ahead Of Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-2016-mini-clubman-official-images-revealed-ahead-of-frankfurt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/autoleaks-2016-mini-clubman-official-images-revealed-ahead-of-frankfurt/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1098817 Ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, official images of the 2016 MINI Clubman escaped onto the Internet for all the world to see [now updated with info from the official press release – CA]. Underpinned by the UKL1 modular architecture also used by the MINI three- and five-door models, as well as the BMW […]

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Mini-Clubman-6

Ahead of the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, official images of the 2016 MINI Clubman escaped onto the Internet for all the world to see [now updated with info from the official press release – CA].

Underpinned by the UKL1 modular architecture also used by the MINI three- and five-door models, as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, the Clubman replaces the skinny suicide rear passenger doors from the current model with conventional ones.

The Clubman — whose face takes its cues from the 2011 Rocketman concept — is reportedly bigger, as well, gaining 10.23 inches in length, 6.34 inches in width, and an inch in height over the model it will replace. Up to 47.9 cu. ft. of cargo space is available with help from either 60/40 or optional 40/20/40 rear seats, 17.5 cu. ft. when all five occupants are aboard. Curb weight ranges between 3,105 lbs and 3,300 lbs, depending on trim and transmission selected.

Power for the new Clubman will come from a pair of gasoline engines: a 1.5-liter three-pot good for 134 horses and 162 lb-ft of torque, and a 2.0-liter turbo-four producing 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Both engines can be paired with either six-speed manual or six- and eight-speed variants of MINI’s Steptronic automatic (six-speed for the Cooper Clubman, eight-speed for the Cooper S Clubman). Nil to 60 comes in 8.9 seconds for the Cooper Clubman (top speed: 127 mph), 6.9 seconds (auto) to 7 seconds (manual) for the Cooper S (top speed: 142 mph).

Handling comes from a single joint strut axle up front, and the 2 Series Active Tourer’s multilink setup in the back, with standard 16-inch and optional 17- to 19-inch alloys, dynamic traction, stability and damper controls, and electronic differential locking holding everything together on the road.

Other features available include: MINI Excitement Package (LED interior and ambient lighting, projected MINI logo from driver’s side mirror); HUD; collision/pedestrian warning; MINI Connected infotainment system; revised aero; start-stop; and MINI Driving Modes for increased fuel economy or more power depending on mood.

(Image credit: MINI)

Mini-Clubman-20 Mini-Clubman-6 Mini-Clubman-5 Mini-Clubman-22 Mini-Clubman-8 Mini-Clubman-18 Mini-Clubman-9 Mini Clubman 10 Mini-Clubman-21 Mini-Clubman-7

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4-Door Is Providing A Big Sales Boost To Mini USA http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/4-door-providing-big-sales-boost-mini-usa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/4-door-providing-big-sales-boost-mini-usa/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:19:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039849 With one of the most detailed monthly sales reports of any auto brand competing in the United States, Mini revealed their March 2015 sales in a breakdown that included door counts. Not since Volvo’s monthly report divvied up the V60’s sales by regular and Cross Country variants has a numbers addict been so pleased. Excluding […]

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2015 Mini Cooper 4-DoorWith one of the most detailed monthly sales reports of any auto brand competing in the United States, Mini revealed their March 2015 sales in a breakdown that included door counts.

Not since Volvo’s monthly report divvied up the V60’s sales by regular and Cross Country variants has a numbers addict been so pleased.

Excluding the 540 leftover niche versions of the second-gen BMW Mini – Convertible, Roadster, Clubman, and Coupe – and 1654 sales of the high-riding Countryman and Paceman, Mini’s core Hardtop model was up 429% to 3635 units in March 2015; up 319% to 8224 units in the first-quarter of 2015.

42%, or 1509, of the March sales were produced by the 4-door. Precisely four out of every ten Mini Cooper Hardtops sold so far this year were 4-doors.

Mini USA sales chart 2015 Q1The year-over-year results of the 2-door model are skewed by the fact that there was little overlap between the outgoing and incoming models. At this time last year, the 2-door’s demand had mostly dried up, as had much of the inventory. Thus, sales of that model alone are up 151% this year; up 209% in March.

But with its somewhat awkward stance and $1000 premium, the 4-door has quickly become an integral part of the Mini lineup. First-quarter sales of the 4-door were greater, albeit marginally so, than first-quarter sales of the brand’s other 4-door, the Countryman, sales of which tumbled 25% over the first three months of 2015.

2015 Mini 4-door and 2-doorAs for the defunct Clubman, its monthly sales average between 2011 and 2014 of 425 units pales in comparison to this new 4-door’s early 1100-unit monthly average.

To what extent some of these 4-door buyers would be choosing the new 2-door if the 4-door wasn’t available, we can’t fully know. But assuming they wouldn’t, assuming they’re considering the 4-door because they wanted a Mini with extra cargo capacity and a usable rear seat that isn’t a Countryman, we can say the brand’s 2015 Q1 results wouldn’t look quite so impressive without the latest variant.

Mini brand sales are up 48% to 12,777 in early 2015. Excluding the 4-door, Mini sales are up 9.5% to 9483.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Bark’s Bites: The Good, The Not-As-Good, and The Ugly: Part Two http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-two/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/barks-bites-good-not-good-ugly-part-two/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033097 In our first installment, we focused on Daimler, Mazda, and the Volkswagen Group. Today, we’ll focus on BMW/Mini, Subaru, and Hyundai/Kia. But first, let me address a couple of the comments about the cars the B&B said I got wrong: I stand by my comments about the Golf. One commenter said the Golf was just […]

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BMW-M235i_mp2_pic_107451

In our first installment, we focused on Daimler, Mazda, and the Volkswagen Group. Today, we’ll focus on BMW/Mini, Subaru, and Hyundai/Kia. But first, let me address a couple of the comments about the cars the B&B said I got wrong:

  • I stand by my comments about the Golf. One commenter said the Golf was just the “GTI with less power, and less handling ability.” Well, duh. That’s like saying the Focus and Fiesta are the same cars as the FoST and the FiST, but with less power, and less handling ability. The power and the handling ability are what make the GTI special. Granted, the VW dealer network is wretched, so one can excuse the poor sales numbers of the Golf overall, but the Golf is actually outsold by the GTI. I can’t think of another example of a higher-cost, performance variant of a car outselling the base model—even the base Impreza, which I virtually never notice out in the wild, outsells the WRX and STI 2:1.
  • I don’t think the C-Class is a bad car at all—I just think it’s fighting an uphill battle against the 3-Series. That being said, I definitely need to get some seat time in the new C-Class, as Mercedes has yet to deliver a press vehicle to my front door. Any readers who have one and would like to have it reviewed, let us know and I’ll get to you.

That being said, I continue to welcome your comments and dissenting opinions. Now, let’s move on.

BMW/MINI

The Good:

Let me be clear: I’m not one of those who thinks that BMW has “lost it’s way.” You know who likes the “good old days?” Two kinds of people: People who forget what life was like before the Internet and young punks who want to seem ironically cool while they lament the loss of the E30 that they’ve never even seen, much less driven, on their Twitter feeds.

Newsflash to any twentysomethings pining for the days when BMW apparently had a roadmap out of Munich: the old days kinda sucked. Zero to sixty to less than eight seconds was considered “fast.” A “hot hatch” made 110 horsepower. Crash test ratings were horrific. Anything that was faster than a 2015 Subaru BRZ was so damned expensive that 90 percent of Americans couldn’t have afforded it. Trust me—you’re better off living through your windshield than your rear-view mirrors when it comes to cars.

As such, the M235i is proof that the boys in Bavaria still know exactly what they’re doing (although most readers here know me as a Ford fanboy, in the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that I once put down a $5K deposit on a 2008 135i, but that’s a story for another time). You think you want an E30 M3? No, you don’t. You want an M235i. It’s the spiritual successor to that legendary 192 horsepower machine, but in addition to being well-balanced, it can also break the five second barrier in the sixty miles per hour dash.

Speaking of the M3, the new M3/M4 combo is skull-crushingly fast.  Yes, it’s bigger and heavier than the E30 and E36 were. So? The new M3 is just flat-out better than any of its predecessors. Yes, it’s probably gotten too expensive—but we’ll talk more about that in a second.

I had the purely effervescent joy of driving the M6 Gran Coupe around Nelson Ledges before it’s official launch to the public. I drove my Boss 302 to the track that day from Kentucky, and before I got into the big Bimmer, I took a few laps around the circuit in the Mustang. Now, keep in mind—the Boss 302 is provably faster around most tracks in America than the E92 M3 was. The Boss was hitting the kink at about 128 MPH, which was downright ass-puckering. The M6 Gran Coupe—the big, fat, unwieldy M6—hit it at…wait for it…141. Even more impressive was the relative ease with which it did so—there was absolutely none of the drama that was associated with the 302. While some people might appreciate a bit of drama on a racetrack, I gotta tell you that when you’re driving somebody else’s $145K car, you appreciate a lack of it.

Meanwhile, you can complain about the turbo 4-bangers all you want (you can still get an inline six, you know). You can complain about the proliferation of models all you want (they still make a 335i sedan). I’m still gonna put the 3-Series in the “Good” category, if only because it’s still the standard bearer for the segment. You don’t like it? What would you rather have? An A4? A C-Class (based on yesterday, maybe)? An IS? A G? Nah. The 3-Series is still the king.

The Not-As-Good:

It’s hard to not appreciate the MINI Cooper Hardtop for what it is. I know that they have wretched reliability. But, damnit, I still find myself trolling Craigslist for well-loved early examples. In many ways, the proliferation of hot hatches available in the USA today has made the MINI Hardtop somewhat irrelevant—is there anybody who’d take a MINI over a GTI/FoST?—which is why I had to drop it down to Not-As-Good. But it’s a fine line.

Now, if you want to complain about the turbo 4 in the 5-Series? All right, I’ll listen to you. In fact, I agree with you. I can’t get behind a $50k+ car that rocks a four-cylinder. The Fiver has never felt like it was the right car for the segment, and this F10 generation is just…meh.

The Ugly:

Every MINI that isn’t the Hardtop. Seriously. Just stop all that nonsense.

The 7-Series has always felt like the big brother who has the little brother who’s the star athlete—it’s the Cooper of the Manning Family. There’s nothing wrong with the Siebener, per se—it’s just not the icon of the brand. The S-Class owns this segment, and it often feels like BMW has given up on competing.

Once there was a car that was so ugly, everybody died. I’m talking about those god-awful GT models. I just don’t get it. Maybe there’s a market segment that this car is filling, but I don’t know what it is.

Here’s the biggest ugly thing about the BMW brand in 2015—the sticker prices. I visit BMW dealers weekly, and I see prices on the window stickers that are just downright mindboggling. With reported lease numbers approaching seventy percent, the astronomical prices barely matter. As such, it’s not uncommon to see as many as three different prices on one car—just last week in Indiana, I saw a 328i in the showroom that had $43k on the sticker, $40k on the stand next to the car, and $37k on a tag hanging from the rearview mirror. Oh, and then it said $359 a month on the windshield. There’s a real push-and-pull between the desire to maintain an upscale brand, yet keep moving 100K 3/4 series a years.

Whew. Okay, let’s move on. Damn, I forgot the X5. Throw it up there in the “Good” for me, would ya? Thanks.

SUBARU

The Good:

The WRX/STI combo has made Subaru relevant to enthusiasts for over a decade, now. I remember driving my 2000 Hyundai Tiburon to a Subaru dealership in 2001, begging them to give me a decent trade value toward one of the original, bug-eyed WRXes. Even if they could have made the numbers work, there’s no way that I could have afforded the insurance. But everybody my age (I was 23) desperately wanted one. Almost fifteen years later, the WRX (and now, STI) are still limited to about 300 HP, so they’re no longer “fast” by today’s standards (which is kinda mind-boggling, if you think about it), but they’ve reinvented themselves as affordable alternatives to the pony car. As the Evo walks the plank, the WRX/STI keeps the Japanese rally car dream alive for kids playing Gran Turismo everywhere.

The Outback and Forester continue to sell in surprising numbers—in fact, if you combined the two of them (and who among the non-Subaru faithful can honestly tell the difference, anyway), they’d be the 8th best selling vehicle in America. You can’t help but love them when you drive them—there’s really nothing else like them. If you want an Outback or a Forester, you probably aren’t really shopping anything else.

The Not-As-Good:

The Legacy. You know, if Subaru could just build a competitive mid-sized sedan, they’d have a shot at some real market share. Unfortunately, they can’t. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong about the Legacy—there’s just nothing particularly right about it. The best they can hope to do is compete with the bottom tier of mid-sizers, like the 200 and the Malibu.

The Ugly:

The Emperor’s New Clothes are completely off at this point. The BRZ is selling in numbers that the Lincoln MKS scoffs at. Unfortunately, the BRZ/FR-S combo really are the spiritual successor to the RX-8—underpowered, overhyped, and dead in the water in four years. It’s hard to imagine anybody picking this car over any of its competitors. If you’re still waving the flag for this car, you’re simply delusional.

HYUNDAI/KIA

The Good:

The Hyundai Genesis sedan is remarkable. If you shop the V-6 against the similarly priced competition (Buick Lacrosse, Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus, Chevy Impala), there’s really no case to be made for anything else. The real competition is the Chrysler 300C—and I would pick the Genesis every time. You can tell I really love a car when I make it the star of a Sunday Story.

The Kia Soul is one of my favorite cars, anywhere, period. I’d gladly roll down Hamsterdam Avenue in a Yellow Soul +. It obviously doesn’t have any sporting intent whatsoever, but who cares? The Soul picked up the ball right where the first-generation Scion xB dropped it, and they’ve been running with it ever since.

The Not-As-Good:

As far as looks go in the midsize category, the Kia Optima is the most attractive option. Unfortunately, at some point, you have to stop admiring it from the outside and actually get in and drive—and that’s where the Optima falls down a bit. The four-cylinder Optima is painfully slow in comparison to the similarly engined Accord or Mazda6. Braking from higher speeds is a bit of an adventure, too. However, the Optima is probably the smoothest riding of any of the midsizers on the market, and tech-savvy people who don’t care much for driving will like it. I can’t quite convince myself to call it “Good,” but neither is it “Bad.”

The 2015 Elantra GT is a decent car, and it’s much better than the 2001 Elantra sedan that Mrs. Bark once owned. I drove it from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Chicago last week, and I was neither inspired to hate it or love it. Which means that it probably belongs right here.

The Ugly:

Oh, Hyundai…what have you done with the Sonata? Four years ago, I used to search for the previous-gen Sonata on rental car row—now I avoid the new one like a crazy ex-girlfriend. It’s pokey. It’s ugly. It doesn’t turn. It costs too much. I hate it.

That’s it for today. I fully intended to get to Honda and Nissan, but here we are at 2000 words. Oh, well. We’ll get to them, and maybe Toyota, too, in our next installment.

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Mini Superleggera Gets 2018 Production Nod to be One of Brand’s Superheroes http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mini-superleggera-gets-2018-production-nod-one-brands-superheroes/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/mini-superleggera-gets-2018-production-nod-one-brands-superheroes/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:20:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024281 The UK’s CAR magazine is reporting that the Mini Superleggera roadster, first shown as a concept at last year’s Villa d’Este concours in Italy, has been given the go-ahead for production by BMW management, slated to begin in early 2018. The news isn’t much of a surprise. The concept car was a joint project of BMW […]

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Full gallery here

Full gallery here

The UK’s CAR magazine is reporting that the Mini Superleggera roadster, first shown as a concept at last year’s Villa d’Este concours in Italy, has been given the go-ahead for production by BMW management, slated to begin in early 2018. The news isn’t much of a surprise. The concept car was a joint project of BMW and the Touring Superleggera design and coachbuilding firm. When it was introduced, BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer, who is in charge of Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW motorcycles, indicated that the Mini marque, seen by some as carrying brand extension to the point diminishing returns with their proliferation of niche vehicles, would instead be concentrating on a handful of what he called “super heroes” and that the Superleggera had the potential to be one of those models going forward.

Schwarzenbauer’s remarks were followed by design patent applications that indicated that while the concept’s spare, aluminum interior, and frameless speedster glass wouldn’t make it to production, most of the concept’s styling features, including the Union Jack shaped taillights and the ’50s looking fin, will.

Original BMW sketches

Original BMW sketches

While the concept featured a through-the-road plug-in hybrid all-wheel-drive system with an electric motor driving the front wheels and an ICE powering the rears, the production version will be based on the BMW corporate platform for small FWD and AWD cars and be powered by three and four cylinder combustion engines.

Patent drawings revealed in December

Patent drawings revealed in December

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

minisuperleggera3 minisuper minisuper2 minisuper3 minisuper4 minisuper5 minisuper6 IMG_0367 IMG_0357 IMG_0363

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Geneva 2015: MINI Countryman Park Lane Unveiled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/geneva-2015-mini-countryman-park-lane-unveiled/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 09:10:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1011826 Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need. Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. […]

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Looking for a more distinguished MINI? The MINI Countryman Park Lane might be just what you need.

Named after one of the most prestigious streets in London, as well as the third MINI to be named as such, the Park Lane can be had on the Countryman, Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4. The trim level wears a two-tone ensemble of Early Grey and Oak Red with optional stripes in the latter. Other features include 18-inch wheels in Turbo Fan Dark Grey, exclusive emblems, and trim pieces and surfaces in Oxide Silver and Carbon Black.

No price has been stated thus far, but the first of the Countryman Park Lanes should be rolling off the line beginning in July of this year.

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Goodbye Mini Coupe And Mini Roadster, Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/goodbye-mini-coupe-mini-roadster-dont-let-door-hit-way/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/goodbye-mini-coupe-mini-roadster-dont-let-door-hit-way/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 13:59:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004682 Mini says increased demand for new three and five-door Mini and foreordained plans are bringing production of the Coupe and Roadster to an end. Also, it turns out people didn’t want less practical versions of a car that already lacked a certain degree of flexibility. Surely Mini would have thought twice about cancelling production of […]

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2013 Mini CoupeMini says increased demand for new three and five-door Mini and foreordained plans are bringing production of the Coupe and Roadster to an end.

Also, it turns out people didn’t want less practical versions of a car that already lacked a certain degree of flexibility.

Surely Mini would have thought twice about cancelling production of the two cars – or at least considered replacing them with new versions off the new Mini platform – had sales been strong.

Americans have registered only 6679 Mini Roadsters since the two-seat convertible arrived in 2012. Roadster volume jumped 18% in 2013, the first full year for the car, but 2014 sales plunged 49%. Only 65 were sold in January 2015, which actually represented a 12% uptick compared with January 2014.

BMW-Mini sales chart January 2015The helmet-wearing Coupe, which went on sale in 2011, attracted 7351 U.S. owners through the end of January 2015. (Few Coupes are left; only 22 were sold last month.) Coupe sales jumped to a high of 2880 units in 2012, the car’s first full year, but slipped 12% in 2013 and plunged 62% in 2014.

But the Coupe and Roadster were never integral parts of the Mini USA lineup. Together, they generated just 8% of the brand’s volume in 2012 and 2013; just 4% in 2014.

2013 Mini RoadsterMini now turns its focus to its core models: the three-door Hardtop, the Countryman, and the new five-door model. Mini’s U.S. sales jumped 27% in January as the Hardtops generated two-thirds of the brand’s volume and the Countryman, though down 31%, brought in 23% of buyers. For every Clubman, Convertible, Coupe, and Roadster sold in January, Mini USA sold nine conventional Hardtop models.

While Mini continues to be a relatively small part of BMW USA’s portfolio, generating less than half the sales of the 3-Series/4-Series lineup in January, Mini’s home market is very keen. 22% of the BMW Group’s UK volume was Mini-derived in January. Mini owned 1.4% of the overall market (0.3% in the U.S.; 0.2% in Canada) and the brand ranked 21st overall, behind Mazda, Renault, and Volvo, but ahead of Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Dacia, Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche, Jeep, and Alfa Romeo.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Toyota, BMW Working On Entry-Level MINI Minor Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/toyota-bmw-working-entry-level-mini-minor-model/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988994 Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW are working on such a thing, called the Minor. Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range […]

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Been waiting for a MINI that actually lives up to its name? Toyota and BMW are working on such a thing, called the Minor.

Automobile Magazine reports the Minor is in the earliest phases of development, and would likely pull its looks from the 2012 Rocketman concept and the current Paceman crossover. Pricing would range between $14,500 and $16,000.

As far as platforms go, the two automakers are going all in on a “bargain basement effort” for the Minor — including a reduction in size and content — instead of using a similarly sized platform like that of the Toyota Aygo, BMW preferring the Minor to not be a badge-engineered product developed and assembled elsewhere.

The new MINI would be one of five new models coming into the portfolio between now and 2018, including an all-new 2016 Countryman and a Superleggera roadster for 2018.

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NAIAS 2015: 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop Revealed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-mini-john-cooper-works-hardtop-revealed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-2015-mini-john-cooper-works-hardtop-revealed/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:30:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=979721 Looking for a high-performance MINI? Meet the 2015 John Cooper Works Hardtop. The latest addition to the MINI family has a 2-liter turbo-four that makes 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 comes in under 6 seconds, but the brand adds that it can jump from 50 to 75 in 5.6 seconds. […]

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Looking for a high-performance MINI? Meet the 2015 John Cooper Works Hardtop.

The latest addition to the MINI family has a 2-liter turbo-four that makes 228 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Zero to 60 comes in under 6 seconds, but the brand adds that it can jump from 50 to 75 in 5.6 seconds. Six-speed auto or rev-matching manual helps direct the power to the front.

Suspension for the JCW Hardtop includes a single-joint strut axle up front and multi-link in the rear, with optional dynamic damper control for those who want to switch between comfort and sport modes.

Inside, the driver is greeted by a new gauge styling, including a dark dial for speedometer and engine speed. Bolstered seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers are standard, with heated front seats, glass roof and heated folding mirrors as some of the options available.

Price of admission for the JCW Hardtop begins at $30,600, and will go on sale this spring.

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A 21st Century 318is http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/21st-century-318is/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/21st-century-318is/#comments Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:22:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=960225 You haven’t been able to buy a BMW 318is since L.A. Law was on the airwaves, but BMW just introduced the next best thing. A 3-cylinder BMW 2-Series Coupe. Jalopnik reports that BMW is introducing a 218i coupe, powered by the 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo mill from the base Mini Cooper. Pumping out 136 horsepower and 162 […]

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You haven’t been able to buy a BMW 318is since L.A. Law was on the airwaves, but BMW just introduced the next best thing. A 3-cylinder BMW 2-Series Coupe.

Jalopnik reports that BMW is introducing a 218i coupe, powered by the 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo mill from the base Mini Cooper. Pumping out 136 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, the 218i is about as quick as an old 318i, hitting 60 mph in roughly 9 seconds. By American standards, this is dreadfully slow for a BMW (even an X1 can hit the speed limit in 6 seconds), but in Europe, where the car will be sold, it’s just fine.

For now, if you want a BMW packing a triple, you have just one option: the i8 supercar.

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All The Minis Are Down Except The One That Counts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/minis-except-one-counts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/minis-except-one-counts/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:38:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950297 They’ve been certified, although not with the fuel economy figures we first heard. They’re available, although many Mini buyers will want their cars individually tailored. And as a result, U.S. sales of Mini’s core model – the one they call the Hardtop – jumped 64% in October 2014. All other Mini variants posted fewer sales […]

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2015 Mini Cooper SThey’ve been certified, although not with the fuel economy figures we first heard. They’re available, although many Mini buyers will want their cars individually tailored. And as a result, U.S. sales of Mini’s core model – the one they call the Hardtop – jumped 64% in October 2014.

All other Mini variants posted fewer sales in October 2014 than in October 2013. In some cases, the declines represented significant losses.

As the current Clubman is phased out, sales of the elongated Mini slid 98% to just 15, a loss of 932 units. Convertible sales slid 20%; Roadster volume was chopped in half, year-over-year. The Coupe, always rare and expected to soon die along with the Roadster, was down 74% to just 24 units. Paceman volume slid 42%. The Countryman, the best-selling Mini bodystyle over the first ten months of 2014 with a 7% increase in year-to-date sales, was down 9%.

As a result, the massive 1068-unit increase from Mini’s best-selling model was overshadowed by declines from the brand’s six other cars, resulting in a 7% loss for the brand in October 2014. Through the first ten months of 2014, Mini USA volume is down 20%. After generating 19% of BMW of North America’s volume at this point in 2013, Mini has produced just 14% of the company’s sales in 2014.

mini usa sales chartYet the bright spot couldn’t be brighter. This is not an obscure improvement from one of the brand’s mostly ignored cars. The Hardtop, Mini’s most traditional three-door hatchback, in Cooper and Cooper S form, is Mini. It is likely the brand’s least opinion-dividing car. It’s also their most affordable model.

This car was sorely needed in Mini showrooms. Total non-Countryman/Paceman sales were down 7% in 2013 as the Hardtop variant fell 8%. Cooper Hardtop sales had decreased on a year-over-year basis in 18 of 20 months leading up to October. Through the first three-quarters of 2014, Hardtop volume was down 36%, a loss of 7501 units.

We may not see huge 64% improvements added to the Mini Cooper Hardtop’s sales each month in the near future, and whatever gains it does achieve may be offset by continued losses of other models, and then buoyed again by the arrival of a five-door. But as a sign that Mini’s still kickin’, October’s total for the brand’s most popular model was an especially strong one.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mckenna-mini-coupe-roadster-dead-2015/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950897 The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year. AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop […]

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The backwards-cap-wearing MINI Coupe and its Roadster brother are being taken out behind the shed, both going out of production next year.

AutoGuide reports MINI USA product chief Patrick McKenna made the announcement during last week’s LA Auto Show, proclaiming both had “run their life cycle.” The duo also were redundant compared with the hardtop and convertible already in the portfolio, and differences in styling and price didn’t attract many customers.

In their place, McKenna says higher-volume models over niche product will be the order of the day going forward, beginning with the launch of a four-door MINI for those who feel claustrophobic inside the main two-door unit.

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Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-benz-tops-j-d-power-satisfaction-survey/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945105 Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium. AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the […]

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Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium.

AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the mainstream brands, MINI scored 727 out of 1,000, marking the fifth straight year the BMW brand took the top spot on the podium.

Infiniti, Jaguar — last year’s top finisher — Lexus and Porsche round out the premium top five, while Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Fiat did the same among mass-market brands.

As far as the overall car-buying experience is concerned, J.D. Power found an improvement of 12 points among mass-market brands, and a 16-point improvement among premium brands. The main factor for both sides was a knowledgeable sales representative who could understand a customer’s needs, especially with more “tech-heavy” offerings on the lot and in the showroom, per vice president of the automotive retail practice, Chris Sutton.

This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.

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Paris 2014: 2015 MINI Hardtop 5-Door Arrives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2015-mini-hardtop-5-door-arrives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/paris-2014-2015-mini-hardtop-5-door-arrives/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:30:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=923881 For those who wanted a MINI, but only if it had two extra doors — and wasn’t a Countryman — then this MINI Hardtop 5-Door’s for you. With its overall length increase of 6.3 inches and boosted wheelbase of 2.9 inches, the five-door hatch is not exactly “mini”; it’s also longer than the Toyota Yaris […]

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For those who wanted a MINI, but only if it had two extra doors — and wasn’t a Countryman — then this MINI Hardtop 5-Door’s for you.

With its overall length increase of 6.3 inches and boosted wheelbase of 2.9 inches, the five-door hatch is not exactly “mini”; it’s also longer than the Toyota Yaris or Mazda2. That said, it can hold five passengers, offers a half-inch more headroom than the three-door model, and can carry more with its 13.1 cubic-foot trunk.

Up front, either a 1.5-liter three-pot (134 horsepower/162 lb-ft torque) or a 2-liter turbo-four (S model; 189 horses/207 lb-ft, 221 lb-ft overboosted) can deliver power to the front wheels via either six-speed manual or auto transmissions. Nil to 60 is 7.6 seconds, 6.6 for the S Hardtop.

Both models come with two modes of travel: Sport and Green. Adjustments to both throttle and transmission deliver either better efficiency or performance, with auto-equipped models shifting into neutral when coasting for more fuel savings in Green mode. Camera-based adaptive cruise control, LED headlamps, start/stop button et al are available, as well.

Price of admission is $22,550 for the standard model, $25,950 for the S variant. Both Hardtops will be due at the dealership soon.

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Piston Slap: Run Flat Tires and Parties A, B, C http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/piston-slap-run-flat-tires-parties-b-c/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:25:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=920929   TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes: Hi Sajeev, With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide […]

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(photo courtesy: new.minimania.com)

TTAC commentator WheelMcCoy writes:

Hi Sajeev,

With MINIs, fun is directly proportional to repair bills. A couple with a 2009 MINI Cooper S bought an extended warranty which expires in February 2015. They hope to sell their MINI around then, but the run flat tires are worn down to their wear bars. To tide them over for 6 or 7 months, I suggested they buy some good handling low tread wear all season tires (they are in the Northeast) and an air compressor with goo. With normal tires, I’d argue they’d enjoy their MINI even more and might even want keep it after the extended warranty. But they are inclined on getting expensive run-flats to not hurt the resale value. Most likely, they will trade-in rather than sell on their own.

Appreciate your input and any alternatives we haven’t considered.

Sajeev answers:

Be it friendly advice on cars, careers, love, or whatever, a conversation between Party A and Party B about Party C is often a waste of everyone’s time.

I am not telling you to mind your own business. Far from it!  Just make sure they aren’t getting reamed on the replacement tires’ price. That is, they need help saving money on the tires they want.

Considering the repair bills and America’s love of new vehicles, I reckon your (valid) truth isn’t applicable to your friends. If they want to trade in, instead help them get the most cash for the least effort.  That said, depending on where (and when) they trade in, the receiving party might not notice the tire type. But if they trade MINI for MINI, go ahead and get factory tires.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Mini USA Sales Breakdown – August 2014 YTD http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mini-usa-sales-breakdown-august-2014-ytd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mini-usa-sales-breakdown-august-2014-ytd/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 12:46:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909298 53% of the Minis sold in America in August 2014 were Countrymans and Pacemans. The Countryman was Mini’s best-selling model variant, responsible for 50% more Mini sales than the company’s original model, the one they call the Hardtop. Now in its third BMW iteration, the Hardtop’s launch has been a slow one. This isn’t necessarily […]

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2013 Mini Countryman Red53% of the Minis sold in America in August 2014 were Countrymans and Pacemans. The Countryman was Mini’s best-selling model variant, responsible for 50% more Mini sales than the company’s original model, the one they call the Hardtop.

Now in its third BMW iteration, the Hardtop’s launch has been a slow one. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on the car’s popularity, as many Minis are individualized models that take time to cross the Atlantic. We’ve yet to see the full impact of what the new Mini can do.

In the meantime, the Countryman is floating Mini’s boat. Granted, Mini’s boat isn’t sitting that high in the water: sales have decreased in each of 2014’s first eight months. Countryman sales jumped 48% in August even as the rest of Mini’s range slid 41%. Year-to-date, Mini Countryman sales are up 6%; the rest of the Mini lineup is collectively down 34%.

Naturally Mini’s U.S. decline has plenty to do with the relaunch of its most popular model. Not every automaker has the wherewithal, the capability, and the consistent day-in-day-out appeal to introduce, for example, a popular new Toyota Camry without losing sales of the old model in the lead-up to that introduction. Mini Cooper/Cooper S Hardtop sales fell 8% in 2013, as the brand’s slight 1% growth was attributed to the Countryman and newer variants, Roadster and Paceman. Only in July of this year did there appear to be a reversing of the trend as Hardtop volume jumped 21%.

Regardless of the heights Mini achieves with its new cars – remember, they’re expanding the range by expanding the car – should we really be surprised that a brand which appeals to a relatively limited portion of the car-buying public would be relying on the success of its higher-riding models?

Acura is another shining example of the trend. Their car sales have been plunging for some time, and are down 32% so far this year, even as their crossover sales have jumped 20% compared with the first eight months of 2014. The RDX and MDX account for 69% of Acura’s U.S. sales in 2014.

Land Rover now outsells Jaguar by more than three-to-one in the United States. As recently as 2004, Jaguar was outselling Land Rover. Our Chart Of The Day late last month showed the CR-V’s steady rise toward the top of the Honda pecking order.

Why should Mini be any different? Aside from, well, you know, the name of the brand, which signifies a deep-seated affiliation with things small and, dare we say it, miniature.

Things could be different soon enough. Mini may be able to take advantage of the Fiat 500’s decreasing appeal – 500 sales are down 11% in 2014 – and the Volkswagen Beetle’s Volkswagen-like performance in 2014 – Beetle sales are down 31% over the last eight months. Indeed, despite the succinct contempt thrown its way by our managing editor in June, perhaps the 5-door Mini is exactly what the brand needs to keep from turning into Great Britain’s next Land Rover.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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BMW Mexico Plant To Build 150,000 Annually http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/bmw-mexico-plant-to-build-150000-annually/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857249 Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States. Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 […]

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Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.

Automotive News Europe also reports a Mexican government official claimed the new plant would come with a €1 billion ($1.36 billion USD) investment, and may either be located in the state of Hidalgo just north of Mexico City, or in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

The plant — following on the heels of a new Daimler-Nissan small-car factory to be built in Aguacalientes, as well as an Audi factory in San Jose Chiapa — will likely be used to build MINIs and the FWD 1 Series, with localized 3 Series assembly also speculated based on the automaker’s potential need to better compete against the U.S.-assembled Mercedes C-Class on price.

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Mini Goes Maxi With More Doors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mini-goes-maxi-with-more-doors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/mini-goes-maxi-with-more-doors/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 23:10:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=837585 Can you say, brand dilution? Then again, it’s better than the Countryman.

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Can you say, brand dilution? Then again, it’s better than the Countryman.

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BMW May Bring MINI Production To Mexico http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bmw-may-bring-mini-production-to-mexico/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/bmw-may-bring-mini-production-to-mexico/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=821354 Already considering a new plant in Mexico for its 1 and 3 Series, BMW may also bring MINI production to the line when the factory doors open in the near future. Automotive News Europe reports the automaker’s execs prefer Mexico for the location of the small-car plant, proclaiming higher profits under a robust euro from […]

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Already considering a new plant in Mexico for its 1 and 3 Series, BMW may also bring MINI production to the line when the factory doors open in the near future.

Automotive News Europe reports the automaker’s execs prefer Mexico for the location of the small-car plant, proclaiming higher profits under a robust euro from building lower margin vehicles in the country’s growing manufacturing base.

The decision on where the plant will go could come sometime in the second half of 2014. Should Mexico get the nod, total annual production capacity in North America would climb to 600,000 units, the bulk of which would be fueled by the Spartanburg, S.C. plant’s 450,000 units per year.

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New York 2014: 2015 MINI Countryman Debuted http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mini-countryman-debuted/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/new-york-2014-2015-mini-countryman-debuted/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:53:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=800442 The biggest MINI of them all, the Countryman, debuted its refreshed looks for the guests at the 2014 New York Auto Show. The compact SUV still rides on its current platform, and still uses the 1.6-liter four-pot that pushes anywhere from 121 to 208 horsepower, depending upon whether the owner selects the Cooper, Cooper S […]

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The biggest MINI of them all, the Countryman, debuted its refreshed looks for the guests at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

The compact SUV still rides on its current platform, and still uses the 1.6-liter four-pot that pushes anywhere from 121 to 208 horsepower, depending upon whether the owner selects the Cooper, Cooper S or John Cooper Works trims. A six-speed manual is standard on all, with a six-speed auto available for a few more dollars. All-wheel drive is optional for the Cooper and Cooper S, standard for the John Cooper Works model.

Starting price for the 2015 Countryman is expected to be around $23,000, and will arrive in showrooms this July.

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No Replacements For MINI Coupe, Paceman, Roadster http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/no-replacements-for-mini-coupe-paceman-roadster/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/no-replacements-for-mini-coupe-paceman-roadster/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:38:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=774977 BMW’s MINI may not replace the Coupe, Paceman or Roadster when their day comes, opting to focus on three “pillar” models that allow the brand to be “more relevant to more people,” according to MINI head of product management Oliver Friedmann. Automotive News Europe reports Friedmann’s first priority for MINI “is to roll out a […]

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BMW’s MINI may not replace the Coupe, Paceman or Roadster when their day comes, opting to focus on three “pillar” models that allow the brand to be “more relevant to more people,” according to MINI head of product management Oliver Friedmann.

Automotive News Europe reports Friedmann’s first priority for MINI “is to roll out a portfolio that has strong pillars,” with each pillar being clear in what it means to the overall brand. With the original hatchback and Countryman identified as the first two pillars, a potential third pillar could come in the form of a compact model based upon the Clubman concept shown in Geneva.

As for the Coupe, Paceman and Roadster, Friedmann says the trio aren’t a priority to the brand at this time, with the possibility all three may end up in the crusher of history in the near future.

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Geneva 2014: MINI Clubman Concept http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-mini-clubman-concept/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/geneva-2014-mini-clubman-concept/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:18:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=765265 At 10 inches longer and 7 inches wider than the current Clubman, this really is the Maxi Mini. And it’s got two extra doors. While officially a concept, you can bet that this is making it into production.

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At 10 inches longer and 7 inches wider than the current Clubman, this really is the Maxi Mini. And it’s got two extra doors. While officially a concept, you can bet that this is making it into production.

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2015 Mini Clubman to Get RWD Electric Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-mini-clubman-to-get-rwd-electric-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/2015-mini-clubman-to-get-rwd-electric-boost/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 16:37:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=754281 You could make a case for Mini’s Clubman being an ideal small-business/delivery vehicle. It’s large enough to carry bulky office items, small enough to park, stylish enough to be seen in, and gets decent fuel economy. One of the biggest criticisms of the Clubman, though, has nothing to do with its practicality- it’s that the […]

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You could make a case for Mini’s Clubman being an ideal small-business/delivery vehicle. It’s large enough to carry bulky office items, small enough to park, stylish enough to be seen in, and gets decent fuel economy. One of the biggest criticisms of the Clubman, though, has nothing to do with its practicality- it’s that the bigger Mini doesn’t quite live up to the brand’s hard-earned performance heritage. That’s going to change, however, with the launch of the 2015 Mini Hybrid Clubman.

Using a system similar to the one used by Volvo in its XC60 and V60 hybrids, the electric power train in the 2015 Mini hybrid models is expected to send power directly to the rear wheels. The “modular” approach here would make tooling up easier, and allow the unit to be used in other BMW/Mini properties like the recently-released, front-wheel drive BMW X2.

Up front, the 2015 Mini hybrids will make use of the company’s existing 135 HP, 1.5-liter three cylinder turbo engine. According to LeftLane News, the new car “may, effectively, act as a rear-wheel-drive platform if driving in electric-only mode. Under hard acceleration the system would switch to all-wheel-drive mode.” If that’s true, the arrangement should make for a fun little runabout- especially with the expected 190 total HP!

What do you guys think? Is 190 HP and all-wheel drive enough to make the Clubman a Mini a worth successor to the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini Cooper, or is all this just an excuse to ramp up economies of scale for BMW’s i Brand? Let us know!

 

Originally published on Gas 2.

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