By on January 29, 2015

PacemanOr, how many Pacemans could a pace man sell if a pace man could sell pace?

The answer, at least in the United States: not very many.


• 4176 Cooper Hardtops sold in December

• Only 129 Paceman sold in December

• 2014 was the best year yet for the Countryman


Mini won’t be extending the Paceman’s lifecycle nor will the Paceman be replaced by a next-gen model when the current iteration is put out to pasture. Pacemans arrived in North America in March 2013. The nameplate averaged 243 monthly sales through the end of 2014.

Its best months were in November and December of 2013, when 631 and 650 Paceman sales, respectively, were reported by BMW USA. Mini USA sold 1435 and 2055 Countrymans in November and December 2013.

But by the second half of 2014, Paceman volume was plunging in the United States. Between June and January, year-over-year Paceman sales fell 53%, a loss of 1521 sales for a low-volume nameplate at a low-volume brand.

Most recently, November sales fell 57% and December volume took an 80% nosedive. Only twice in ten attempts did Paceman volume improve on a YOY basis: in April, when sales jumped 78% from 2013’s lowest output (95 units) to 169, and in May, when a 21% jump was followed up by June’s 41% loss.

Paceman vs Countryman sales chartSo despite the author’s guilty-pleasure preference for the Paceman over the Countryman, the two-door high-riding Mini joined the Coupe and Roadster as Mini flops. Roadster sales fell 49% to just 1437 units in 2014. The Coupe was down 62% to 956 sales. This two-seat pair, together with the Paceman, accounted for 8% of Mini’s U.S. volume in 2014, down from 13% in 2013.

Mini’s overall 2014 U.S. sales results appear troubling, as well, at least at first glance. Following 2013’s record-setting volume, year-end sales were down 16% to a four-year low. However, the turnaround for the brand’s core Hardtop model, which arrived in third-gen form with full strength in the latter portion of the year, was striking. Fourth-quarter sales of the Hardtop jumped 53% to 9791 units, equal to 58% of the Mini brand’s Q4 total. As a result, overall Mini volume improved in each of 2014’s final two months despite the Paceman’s inability to sell pace, or rather, the Paceman’s inability to sell hardly anything at 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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

45 Comments on “How Many Pacemans Could Mini Sell If Mini Could Sell Pacemen?...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    “Or, how many Pacemans could a pace man sell if a pace man could sell pace?”

    Pace makes a pretty good picante sauce, so there’s that

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      What a delicious picante it is!

      This week I was making some pasta, and I had less Newman’s sauce than I thought. So it ended up being 80% Newman’s and 20% Pace Picante medium. Add a little bacon, and hey presto delicious meat sauce.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I believe your graph is labeled wrong and the Paceman sales should be the gray line and the Countryman red.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I can’t be the only one who forgot the Paceman even existed until this article provided a reminder. I live in DC, which seems to be a fairly sizeable market for Mini. Lack of any visibility or apparent marketing even in an area that seems to buy a lot of Minis can’t help sales…

  • avatar

    I hate to see BMW milking the whole Mini thing till the very last drop. The first New Mini (2001?) was fresh, different, yet somehow true to the original Mini. Now Mini represents frog eye-looking little cars suffering from obesity, that have lost all of Mini’s original spark. Personally, I hope that the downward sales trend we see in the U.S. will spill over to the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I got yelled at for saying this before. Mini is very entitled to make as many little cars as they like, and it doesn’t matter if 98% of them are the same save for minor tweaks. How dare you assert the brand is ridiculous and needs to go away.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      Voyager writes: “I hate to see BMW milking the whole Mini thing till the very last drop. The first New Mini (2001?) was fresh, different, yet somehow true to the original Mini.”

      So right.

      My Frank Stephenson designed 2005 Mini Cooper S (first gen new Mini) still looks sharp and modern, yet its successors became progressively more bulbous and bloated. Ten years on I’ve never regretted buying the MCS, yet never been tempted to buy a later model.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Mini’s lineup of vehicles is too bloated. I didn’t know the Paceman existed before I saw this article, and I’m still not 100% sure I know what it is.

    Without cheating by consulting their Web site, can you name all the vehicles Mini makes? I’ll try:

    * The core model: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works two-door hatches that we all think of as a “Mini.” (Is this what the marketers call a Hardtop?)
    * The new five-door version of the core model.
    * Convertible (which the marketers apparently call a roadster)
    * Little two-door wagon/shooting brake, which I always thought was cool. (Is that the Clubman?)
    * Four-door tall wagon/crossover not-so-Mini Countryman. (Is the Paceman a two-door version of the Countryman?)
    * Coupe, which would be cool if it were lighter than the base model, but it isn’t, and its roof looks like a backwards baseball cap.

    Is that all of them?

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    Good riddance. All of these Mini-derivatives are hideous and completely run counter to the Mini design. The only revived Mini model in the early 2000 was “true” to the original car. In my mind, and admittedly quite harsh, all of the derivatives are to grab those customers that really shouldn’t consider Mini to begin with (those people that want bigger car, convertible, coupes, etc). The analogy is, again quite harsh, are obscenely fat people wearing black clothes thinking they’ll look skinny, or short legged women wearing uncomfortable high heels thinking others actually believing they have long legs. Sorry for the tirade.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I’m with you. The MINI’s appeal a dozen years ago was based on simplicity. Now they’re just cannibalizing themselves in a limited niche, especially when Honda Fit is a better car.

      MINI should pare it down to hardtop, roadster and the core five-door model.

      Seriously, if the goal is to squeeze more money out of buyers, their showrooms are filled with a staggering array of entry-level CUVs and cheap leases from BMW.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I have been complaining about this FOREVER… a Mini is just that: a “mini” – which is a 2 door, little, toss-able hatchback. There should have never been a 4 door, convertible, CUV version, coupe version, etc, etc. The up level models like S or JCW are fine since those just boost performance over the base model.

      And for the record I’m OK with short women in high heels.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Actually, the original Mini came in quite a few variants, so BMW isn’t totally out of line here. That said, the new 4-door hardtop needs to be killed with fire.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    That’s too bad, I personally like the Paceman’s styling better than the Countryman. But the market for two-door anythings is extremely limited.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I parked next to a Paceman in the wild the other day. It’s a remarkably large vehicle on the outside, and certainly smallish on the inside.

    And they can get pricey – near me, they’re ranging from $27k to $45k!

  • avatar
    stingray65

    As the hardtop gets slightly bigger with each new generation, and now is available in a 5 door, the Paceman and Countryman increasingly don’t really offer anything besides available AWD. Given that the BMW 2 series shares the same platform as the new hardtop and is available in AWD, we can assume that providing AWD on the hardtop would also be possible. Thus my guess is the next generation Countryman will likely be even less mini than it is today to differentiate it from the 5 door hardtop.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Remember when the Mini was small and not butt-ugly?

    Good times.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Sounds like the perfect companion vehicle for a Rolls Royce Ghost. Maybe a Ms. Paceman will be next.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    The Paceman is the bigger, much more expensive version of the regular Hardtop. Magically, it is just about as useful as the smaller car.

    I think that’s why it don’t sell.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Two-doors with a disproportionately large price tag. Only works for sports cars, muscle cars, and luxury coupes.

    The Paceman should be a Hyundai/Kia product for buyers with a penchant for cost-efficient utility.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I see at least 3 or 4 pacemen for every countryman I see on the road, but of course I don’t see many of either. Most of the countrymen I see are bright green and owned by steam whistle brewery, I haven’t seen a civilian one in months. I see at least one or two pacemen a week, but maybe it’s always the same one. I feel like countrymen are selling a lot more strongly in US than in canada, either that or people here just keep them in the garage.

  • avatar
    Jgwag1985

    Hardly a disproportionate price tag. A Cooper S Paceman and a Cooper S Coupe equipped identically is only $1950 difference. Not insignificant, but not $5k (which I would consider disproportionate).

    November 2002 I took delivery of a 2003 Cooper S. I kept it 3 years. If Mini did not produce the Paceman I would have never been caught driving another Mini. September 2013 I took delivery of my Paceman. Obviously older now, I don’t want to sit on the ground, and crawl in and out of another car. At 6’6″ it’s just not as fun or easy getting out of something so low any more.

    I have gotten more compliments with my Paceman then I ever did with my coupe. I cannot understand why people are buying the (2 door) coupe when this is available.

    The ride is so much better and tolerable in the Paceman vs my first Mini. I can’t get over how much easier it is to get in this car. I like sitting up higher, without losing the individuality of the Mini brand.

    Too bad there will be no 2nd generation Paceman. And no the Countryman isn’t the same-2 too many doors. I guess I can hold out hope for a 2 door Fiat 500X.

    And to the people that complain about Mini’s getting too big, and too many models. Get over it. They are in business to make money and grow the brand, if not enough buyers are buying the coupe, what do you expect them to do?

    BTW-I also currently own a 1st gen Fiesta(rarely driven) so I am familiar with small cars. Sometimes small can be too small, that’s why I got Paceman instead of even considering a Coupe.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      You wanted a bigger 3-door Mini, but there weren’t enough people like you to keep the Paceman around.

      The Countryman is much more useful for those who want more space in their “Mini,” so I’m not surprised that it continues to sell well.

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    They sold 15,567 Pacemans (Pacemen?) in 2014 globally, up 6% from 2013. Australia contributed a grand total of 87 of those, which I was able to find out because it was in an article about the lowest-selling cars on the market.

    I remember being a little excited, but only a little, some time last year when I saw one on the road for the first and so far last time ever.

  • avatar
    SnarkyRichard

    It’s being marketed as a comfortable car for 4 people . But do the rear windows retract down ? If not it’s just a two seater hatch being marketed as a 4 seater for a much higher price . Claustrophobia in the rear seats if the windows are fixed – yes that is a concern . Don’t even get me started on the Hyundai Veloster which also has terrible right rear vision for the driver just like the Honda CRZ . No wonder people opt for SUVs and CUVs when hauling 3 or more people .

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    The new BMW mini offered great styling, and was great to drive, like a go kart, it was also a premium small car.
    Others now do premium small cars with styling, while minis have gotten fisheyed and ugly.

    In fact euro pedestrian laws have made the current crop of euro compliant cars fugly. Look at the front end of the new mustang, instead of being tight and slimming towards the front it gets bulbous.
    That effect is even worse on the fisheyed mini and the pacman is just fugly.

    BMW had a surprising hit when they came out with the mini, seems they cant figure out why. One reason why the mni worked is it was like the 2002 people who actualy drove appreciated the dynamics and quality in small stylish car. A bloated pacman is ugly and lacking in these qualities.

    BMW had a lock on the premium small car segement, marketing got carried away and now it s has a diffuse image all in the name of trying to expand sales, sometimes when you do that you erode the whole thing.

    Owning a niche means you have a niche, grow out of your niche and soemtimes you have nothing,

    Plus yeah they are kinda expensve for an ugly car that drives more or less Ok. In that sense no different to most new BMW models. Selling on a halo of brand cachet is not agood long term strategy.

    • 0 avatar
      Jgwag1985

      So using your logic, Porsche diffused the whole brand by offering more models based on the appearance of one model?

      It’s funny how people criticize one car but NEVER disclose what car they own, because they don’t want to be on the receiving end of the same comments they dish out.

      The Paceman is clearly in proportion, unlike 911 inspired Porsches.

      The people that whine and complain about size are completely out of touch with reality, UNLESS YOU ALSO complain about the Porsche 911 adding 9.5 in wheelbase, over a foot in length and gaining 700lbs.(Cayman only 3 inches shorter than 911) How about the Civic? Did you complain about all the different versions? The sedan, the tall wagon, hatchback, awd? How about the Miata size vs the English sports cars that inspired it? How about the Honda CRX? When Honda brought back its successor the CRZ it gained over a foot in length and gained almost 700 lbs…………comical. Talk about living in the past.

      How many auto manufactures have only 1 model of car with no other variants that sell for less then $30k? Haters got to hate.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I still think the Base, S and Roadster variants are fine and nimble, but everything else looks like a bloated blunderbus. Face it, BMW just got greedy.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • PrincipalDan: Real Subaru or not I’d argue that BRZ customers are more sports car enthusiasts than GR 86...
  • EBFlex: “ Or better yet, tell that same group that anyone under 18 is at so low risk of dying from Covid that the...
  • DC Bruce: Let’s remember how we got here. In the beginning FWD was limited to small cars like the VW Golf, the...
  • ToolGuy: There is probably a right way to do small cars, but it Doesn’t Happen in the U.S. market. Too Small =...
  • thornmark: >>And given their electronics and electrical issues, an EV from them should be a laugh riot after...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber