By on September 14, 2014

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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30 Comments on “Mini USA Sales Breakdown – August 2014 YTD...”


  • avatar

    Biggest shock had yet to arrive in the U.S.: the four-door Mini.

  • avatar
    mcs

    >> 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.

    It’s still over an inch shorter than a Miata even with four doors. I’d say it’s okay to call a car smaller than a Miata “mini”.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      This is the thing that people who are eager to snark on the Countryman not being as mini as the Cooper hardtop largely miss. In super-sized, extra-large form, this Mini has roughly the same footprint as a current model Ford Fiesta or Honda Fit. AKA, the supermini/sub-compact segment.

      It’s absurd to imply that the Countryman is a “large” vehicle by any standard.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The Countryman’s price is very different than a Fiesta’s. As is it’s packaging efficiency versus a Fit.

        It’s one thing to pay double for something meaningfully different. Usually in car terms, something bigger; but also something smaller. Convincing people to pay more for what is objectively “the same”, is a bit tougher.

        When the Mini Nouveau was first launched, it had very little competition in it’s size segment. The Countryman is pitched at a segment with plenty of cars, from Fiesta to Golf sized ones. In that respect, it’s much less “special,” and special is the key to get people to “overpay.”

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      If the two door is over 2 feet longer than the original wagon version and a four door will be 3 feet longer is it still mini?.

      For comparison the three door Accord (1976) is 29 inches shorter than the current four door Accord and the 4 door mini will be less than 6 inches shorter than that 76 Accord which was not considered a “mini” car.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Can’t stick to marketing minimalist. People were skinny in the 60’s. Now look at them.

    The latest Beetle doesn’t look properly proportioned to me. Seeming too low & wide.

    I spied a 500 Gucci in that oxidized white looking old before it’s time.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Well. Bmw should have made the i3 a mini and from its general styling I suspect that was considered. They should spend more time on the packaging to try and further optimize the indoor to outdoor dimensions. Plus it is hard to sell premium small vehicles when your parent company decides to step all over you with new fwd vehicles.

  • avatar

    A lot – and I mean ‘lot’ as in proportion to what you’d expect – of ‘classic’ Coopers and Countrymans are daily rentals. SIXT ran about ten ’14 Countryman non-Ss last week at Greater Tampa Bay along with ten ’14 S60s and ten CLA250s. Countrymans were bringing under rough book ($18-19k) with miles in the teens.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      What did the CLAs do?

      • 0 avatar

        $27-28k. All had P1 with NAV; one had a sunroof and brought the highest, $28,2. Offleaseonly bought one, Texas Auto Direct (biggest eBay Motors dealer) bought another, and the Egyptian dealer up the road in Tarpon Springs bought one of them. A few didn’t sell and I don’t know who got the others.

        I usually don’t mind speculating – I bought a ’13 LR4 HSE LUX w/16k that was run at a sled sale for some unknown reason – but I get gun-shy buying something that Merz offers a $299 lease on with much better financing sources for that type of buyer than I have.

  • avatar

    I wish Mini the best of luck because I really like their vehicles, but it doesn’t look good…especially with BMW’s race to the bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      BMW is just following the market. Which is increasingly becoming hollowed out between $20K and $200K. The nature of reverse Robin Hooding, is that upper end producers like BMW initially benefit as the “professional”, “executive” class grows, but as the policies are continued and doubled down on, more and more of them fall by the wayside. Until you’re either working at Goldman and looking at LaFerraris, or you’re being a good slave in order not to jeopardize your lifelong dream of having someone who does lend you enough to buy something used.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Meh. Countryman has been out a couple years, so the hype has died and sales have slowed. Everyone’s been waiting for the new hardtop to debut, of course numbers for the old version are down. I’d be surprised if sales weren’t down from last year. If they’re down next year, then there’s a problem.

    At their price point, MINI doesn’t really need to grow the brand. As long as they can introduce a new model on the same platform every couple years to generate interest and keep sales constant, they’re golden. Seems BMW’s management is smart enough to realize that consistent profit beats growth-at-any-cost.

  • avatar
    KindaFondaHonda

    My daughter, in her very early twenties, bought her first car last year: a 2013 MINI Cooper Countryman Turbo S. It looks very much like the car pictured above, except it has a white roof, white mirrors, a white stripe on the hood and a gorgeous white leather interior with contrasting black piping. It is one helluva sharp car, and super fun to drive. It is anything but big, yet for a MINI it is the most versatile model they offer.

    She almost bought the Clubman, but it was too small in the rear and the Dutch doors seemed fussy (although kinda cool).

    Fingers crossed, her car has been stone-cold reliable so far. Also the warranty is stellar. So hopefully that will buy peace of mind in the future.

    Knock MINI and BMW all you want… the Countryman is a really nice little car, with a lot of style that feels and drives great.

    Expensive? Yeah, I suppose.

    But, it’s only money. She can always make more.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I had a base Cooper for a two-week rental from Sixt, back in June. Wrote a Rental Car Review on it, but it must not have been up to snuff.

    It’s not a bad car, but since MINI can’t find a way to make the tow rating cross the Atlantic, it’s off my list.

  • avatar
    mjz

    They keep getting bigger and bigger, they need to change the brand name to MIDI.

  • avatar
    darex

    I have a 2014 F56 MINI Hardtop, and it’s a fantastic car in every respect. The sooner MINI gets the F56’s engines, dash layout and chassis into the Countryman line-up, the better off MINI will be as a whole, but unfortunately, it’s still a year off (or longer? I forget).

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      3cyl or 4cyl? I’ve heard that the 3cyl non-S drives a lot better than the previous non-S MINIs. When we got our ’05, the clear choice was the S.

      • 0 avatar
        darex

        Correct! I have the 3-cylinder with manual transmission, and I can honestly say, that it’s not lacking in power at all (unlike MY 2005 MC — yes, I had one too). The mileage is much superior to the “S” with the 3-cylinder too. I’ve gotten as high as 46 mpg highway with it, during a recent 500 mile road-trip. I’ve had it 3 months. Still very much in “love.”

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