By on May 16, 2017

2016 Mini Clubman

It’s a brand most of us never think about. We never consider buying one, nor do we rush to our laptops/tablets/phones to excitedly discuss the latest update to the brand’s lineup. Simply put, there’s something about the brand that’s lacking.

Maybe it’s horsepower, or lack thereof. Or maybe it’s reliability. Whatever the reason, Mini is not — with some exceptions — at the forefront of our collective consciousness.

It’s a brand that tries hard to remain relevant, especially over here in Crossoverland. Hey, four doors on a Cooper! Look — a longer Clubman! Excuse me, sir, can we interest you in a considerably larger Countryman? Nothing Mini about it, har har…

And yet, for all of its attempts to stay in the buying public’s eye — culling unpopular models like the Paceman and “right-sizing” its current products — Mini’s U.S. sales are still heading in the wrong direction after reaching a 2013 peak. That year saw the brand unload 66,502 units, a clear high-water mark. Last year? 52,030. The first four months of 2017 shows sales slipping behind last year’s tally.

The brand needs to do something to slow the descent, but — as we learned yesterday — it won’t field any new models for a number of years.

The question is: would adding new models have even helped? Mini executives apparently felt it wouldn’t. Otherwise, the anticipated sedan, roadster and micro-Mini two-seater wouldn’t be collecting dust as the brand waits for the next-generation of vehicles. Only then, perhaps, will we see a new model.

The problem with Mini isn’t murky. It’s a nostalgic brand centered around small cars that hobbled into a truck and SUV-obsessed marketplace with a clear handicap. Due to concerns over brand identity, it can’t build you a midsize or full-size truck. Nor can it compete against the Ford Explorer. It could, of course, but it would have to kiss that identity goodbye. And really, who’s going to buy a British truck?

Is the BMW-owned automaker destined to forever remain a niche brand in the U.S.? A quirky expression of the buyer’s individuality? Maybe.

So what would you do, Best and Brightest, if you found your hands on the levers of change at Mini? Would you be content in having the core models languish? Would you green-light a slew of quirky, sporty new small car models, or would you go big — maybe approving the unthinkable?

Or, would you pull that other lever, lowering the coffin containing the brand into the ground forever?

[Image: Mini]

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78 Comments on “QOTD: What to Do With Mini?...”


  • avatar
    wintermutt

    Mini’s are a joy to drive and unreliable. Mazda rightfully owns this niche, being a joy to drive, reliable, and lots of racing opportunities.
    OTOH i know drivers who claim to not care about reliability. Someone must buy them…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Exactly. Look how many unreliable Jeeps are driving around! In my development, where I live, there are 500 houses. And every third has Cherokee/Grand Cherokee. Well, ok. We have lots of Indian/Chinese people here, these dudes drive only Toyonda. Take them away, and you see Jeep, VW, Ford, Range Rover, Jaguar, MB, BMW… and Mini. Plenty of cars deemed unreliable.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Oh please, this is just that “Enthusiast” crap that anything that isn’t a 4-cyl Honda Accord or Miata is “unreliable” and reliability is a binary.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Or, maybe they are reliable now, and your opinion is not up-to-date? That would be my vote. I’ve had an F56 for the past three years, with nary a problem. I chose it over a current-gen Mazda3, I might add, because the ergonomics and tech in the Mazda sucked.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Mini is more of a fashion statement than a motor vehicle.

    And they sell quite well in the part of the GTA where I live. The sales reps at our local Mini dealership are primarily ‘order takers’. Those who want a Mini generally are not cross-shopping other vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Waterloo

      Exactly this. The woman that sold my wife her not so mini Mini was not a car person at all. She enjoys the product and the people who buy them.

    • 0 avatar
      mshenzi

      Agreed about the buyers. My saleswoman was a ‘car’ person and could talk suspension/transmission specifics as well as I’d want, but she steered the discussion back to the distinctiveness of Mini repeatedly. The brand doesn’t stand up well to cross-shopping unless you buy into that distinctiveness narrative. The Clubman was on the list of cars I considered when recently bought a C-segment hatch/mini-wagon, but I was actively shopping a number of cars. Mini is intended to be up-market, not a value brand, but the price difference between it and competitors that were, broadly speaking, comparably equipped, was pretty stunning. It would have had to (a) feel VERY special, and (b) have a more Lexus-like reputation for reliability, to make the difference worth it. Didn’t make it on either count, though it certainly was a satisfyingly driver focused relative to the others I considered.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      …. because in our market, there ARE no comparable vehicles!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Honestly, more horsepower would not be a bad start. Do they have an AWD system in play? Bring the JCW package up to the level of the rest of the 300HP+ hot hatches. And do something about MINI’s ghastly reliability.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Take it out in the backyard and give it the Ole Yeller treatment?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah that is what they need, or at least get back to one or maybe two models. They have fallen into the Saturn trap. Customers ask for something bigger, more doors or whatever and then the same number of customers is spread out over several models instead of just one.

  • avatar
    uncle_dave

    While walking the dog the dog the other day I saw one of these sitting in the neighbor’s garage – in a brown color not seen since 1975, no less – and wondered what for the life of me what would possess someone to buy one of those things. “Yeah – I’ll take one British assembled, German owned crap box in metallic poop”. The salesman must have been howling as they drove it off the lot. A shame the old icon Mini ended up a joke like this – kill it.

  • avatar
    spyked

    Don’t pull the plug on MINI! If FCA can keep Fiat stores around, surely BMW can keep MINI stores around. Speaking of “plugs” – a MINI EV is coming in two years. Who knows where gas prices will be.

    Thing is, since the Gen 3 Coopers came out in 2014, they’ve been reliable. The last gen S models (turbos) were not great, and the first-gen Countryman was a turd, but the Coopers and Clubmans have been fine. There was on recall recently on S models for the engine, but BMW replaces the engine if needed. I personally know several people with Coopers and Cooper S and, like any German car, as the miles pile on, you just pay a little more to keep it on the road. Many people choose not to.

    I think for the Cooper models the issue is PRICE. If you don’t care about style, a GTI does everything as well or better and costs less. Thing is, many people like the style and relative exclusivity of MINI. The MPGs and small size are a huge plus for many city folk. What’s the alternative? A VW Beetle?

    The “value” is in the Countryman range. Better car, to me, than the BMW X1, and cheaper even when loaded up.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Accept it for what it is and make it profitable.

    MINI is:
    a. Primarily a car for a single 20-something or early 30-something woman with a entry-level, white-collar job.
    b. Secondarily a car for Anglophiles.

    Sell them all at a premium; fill the shortfall in volume with BMW models with the same powertrain and Teutonic austerity.

    Sometimes, you have to accept what things are, not what you want them to be, because they don’t want to be that. Go look at Oldsmobile and the P.O.S. lineup that came after the Saturn project and “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile” – my father had a hot Cutlass and then the mighty Toronado; the Alero was no such thing.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I rented a Mini John Cooper Works Clubman ALL4 for a weekend in March. I believe the most expensive vehicle that they make. Even though I in no way represent the demographic that they are selling to. And I have terrible memories of our family’s bought new 1960 Austin Mini that lasted us less than one year.

    Did not like the switchgear. The ride was a little harsh. Nice seats and fit 4 of us comfortably. It was a bit of a hoot motoring around downtown TO, then a run up the highway and through some country roads. Particularly the reactions of others seeing me driving/getting out of it, as there is a preconception, of the type of person who will be driving a Mini.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Do nothing except work on making them better cars, if the last generation are better built time will tell. And just wait until gas goes back up, mini fans like the size of them, maybe make them a easier sell to collage grads who do buy cars, really there is not to much they can do until gas goes up, hey at least they are not Fiat. I do not know how the mini experience is when buying one but that could be a cheap way to make owners feel better buying a mini.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      It’s the most painless, stress-free car buying experience around, in a top-notch dealership, that’s friendly, comfortable and respectful. Add to that that you can (and should) buy your MINI custom-built, and you could not ask for a better buying experience (and after sales treatment).

      Night-and-day from your typical Hyundai/Mazda/VW/GM/Ford dealership!

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Kill it. They strayed off mission.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “It’s a brand most of us never think about. We never consider buying one, nor do we rush to our laptops/tablets/phones to excitedly discuss the latest update to the brand’s lineup…”

    This is over-generalization. I thought of Mini more than once.

    “Is the BMW-owned automaker destined to forever remain a niche brand in the U.S.? ”

    Yes. Unless ALL cars will require to make 30mpg

    “So what would you do?…”

    Mini supposed to be fun to drive? – But I can buy much cheaper fun to drive device. Mini is a fashion brand? – then for this $$ I can get something like Volvo, which is also basically a fashion brand.
    The bottom line, I would make them $5K cheaper and I think, people will gather.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    With retro-styling, highly personalized/expensive option availability, and a size limited model range, Mini can never be more than a niche brand. As a niche brand Mini is likely to become less attractive to its core audience if sales levels get too high, but if BMW can’t make a profit at niche sales levels the brand will eventually die. Given the brand’s popularity globally and increasing sharing of parts with the BMW line, I suspect they are actually very profitable.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Mini is a bit like Jeep, if you want one you want one, there isn’t a competitor.

    Wife’s mini is her dream car and so far so good as far as reliability.

    Guess what I owned a 6 year old M3, didn’t have an issues either.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    Of course Mini will stay a niche brand. That exclusivity and quirky uniqueness is a big part of their appeal to many of their buyers. There’s no need for them to become more mainstream.

    Mini has also served another purpose, though: it’s given BMW an opportunity to fine-tune a driver-oriented front-wheel drive platform for years, so that when the time came they felt they had to use one in a couple BMW models in order to stay competitive, they had something ready. I really do wonder whether that was somebody planning very far ahead, or just lucky chance.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife absolutely loves her Mini Cooper S – she want from a “meh, whatever” car owner to someone who has her Mini washed, has separate winter and summer tires, and gets the required maintenance done on a timely fashion. And she loves driving the little thing. The car, even though it’s 14 years old now, still gets a lot of compliments and questions.

    Mini should remain a niche brand, and their move to expand their sales don’t seem to be working too well.

    What do they need? More power – a S should be competitive with a VW GTI. A JCW should be competitive with a VW R. My own theory? Like GM with the Camaro and the Corvette, BMW doesn’t want Mini to be stepping on the 2-series and the X1.

    The interiors – at least based on the ones I’ve driven – could be a little tighter, but they do have a surprising amount of leg room. And the prices are getting a little ridiculous considering the competition.

    I’m driving a 2009 Clubman S now – which is destined to become my wife’s daily when her current car gets moved to summer only duty – but I don’t love the thing. It doesn’t handle as well as her 2003, and the turbo Prince 1.6L doesn’t have the same “free-wheeling” high-revving feel of the original Chrysler engine.

    Honestly, given the current sales numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if BMW stops selling them here in North America. With the low-ish gas prices, no one is snatching up small cars, especially overpriced ones.

    I won’t be buying a MIni for my next car but I know my wife will probably remain loyal to the brand unless another cute car – not Fiat! – comes along.

  • avatar
    ijbrekke

    I wish they weren’t a separate brand and we’re just sold as a BMW model. Maybe then they would have stuck with just the one (original) new model, which was the purest form of what a modern Mini should be.

    As a fashion statement they’ll die off as the VW Beetle has done. As an enthusiast car they’re not special enough. It doesn’t look good overall.

  • avatar
    nlinesk8s

    I had an ’08 S model. Died in spectacular fashion. My wife loved that car; now she will never consider anything BMW makes.

    I think Mini’s reputation finally caught up with them.

    With the 2nd generation, they managed to do about everything wrong an auto manufacturer can do:
    Tell owners they can go 15k between oil changes, on a motor that consumes a lot of oil by design (meaning it won’t get checked, and engines will run low).
    No low oil sensor, and a dipstick that can only be read in full sunlight. Done.
    Buy an engine design, strap a turbo on it, and dump it out there without adequate testing, resulting in a design that lasts about at long as an RX-8. Done.
    And lets not forget the timing chain tensioner failures.

    Add some other components that either fail prematurely, and take the engine with them, or just fail. (vacuum pumps, steering pumps, fuel pumps, etc.)

    Some people say: “My car has been great for 50k miles!” Wait.

    I think the more recent cars, while not Toyota reliable, are better. But I think the reputation is too strong to overcome. Unless BMW can find a way to make these cars for a whole lot less money, so you get some compensation for the reliability, they’ll fade into obscurity.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      That’s a good summation – I make sure to religiously check the oil on my Clubman. I no longer trust the car like I did with my ol’ Toyota T100.

      btw, I did have the low oil light trigger once, when I took a corner as quickly as I could.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve_S

      Wife has a 2016 so same as the X1, I’m doing a 7k oil change interval. I went to the dealer just to see how bad it would be, $140. No thanks I’ll do it myself on the in-between changes.

      After she is done with pre-paid maintenance I’ll switch to 5k interval.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Keep the original Mini Cooper and just make it better. They will sell.

    There’s a very good reason Toyota and Honda sell so many cars – they simply work very well, if in an uninspired way, but reliability sells.

    Perhaps BMW can sell the brand to Toyota? Hmmm…

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I think I’d keep the original Mini model, sating the desires of whatever enthusiasts are left.

    All other models become crossovers – REAL ones, not slightly lifted barn door wagon BS.

    Originally I was going to suggest a wind-down of the brand, but if it’s making BMW money that’s not a good idea. Overall, the early ’00s “car nostalgia” (Thunderbird, PT Cruiser, SSR, HHR, Prowler, etc) is over, and I don’t see a return to prominence for such cars. The problem Mini has is their retro model is their *brand*, while the other examples from the time period were just single models within the portfolio.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Mini has become MAXI. They are ‘UGE and BIGLY.

    If I ever bought one it would be pure fashion accessory or you’d know I finally had a psychotic break and think I’m Austin Powers.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Increase the personalization angle, since there are almost no cars nowadays that you can truly check the boxes and make your own.

    Sell it in 100+ colours (some will cost extra of course), have hundreds of different options, make the entire model about building your car online and ordering it in to a dealer. Just keep the dealers stocked with one of every model for test drives.

    Right now the base price and option prices are both ridiculous. One of them needs to be lowered, and probably the base price. Make a base Cooper 3 door 15k CAD in a neutral colour with a black interior and a manual transmission, and build from there.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    What would I do? Dunno. I’d be terrible at marketing and I don’t like CUVs, so resuscitating a brand like this is beyond me.

    I like the idea of Mini, particularly the 2-door hardtop and Clubman, but those market segments aren’t going anywhere. The Countryman looks ridiculous. Mini styling on a larger vehicle would also look ridiculous. A Mini badge on a conventionally styled CUV would be completely pointless.

    Can an automotive brand stay in the black catering to a small but consistent niche? Mazda sold 300K vehicles in the US last year and the Dead Brand Walking talk still comes out.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    MINI is wildly popular here in LA. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one (or a Canadian). Theyre about to open a huge new MINI center just a few blocks from where I live in Santa Monica. They’ll always be a niche play, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t prospering in it. At least regionally.

    But on to the most crucial issue: What are their Nurburgring times? I never buy a car without finding that out first.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The problem is twofold; The pricing is stratospheric and the competition has equal or better performance for the price. Who wants a Mini Cooper JCW when you can have a Focus RS.

    On the SUV side, people looking for an iconic vehicle will just buy a Jeep.

    At this rate, they should merge them into BMW showrooms, perhaps make them somthing like BMWs I brand and use them as a technology showcases.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Because Ford has abysmal reliability, horrid interiors and cannot make an infotainment system to save their lives.

      MINI has better reliability than Ford (look it up!), great interiors, and BMW iDrive, which, unlike SYNC, works flawlessly.

      Give me a break!

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        I’ve owned both. I’m not saying the Mini is a bad car, simply that it’s a poor value. That’s why it’s not connecting with buyers.

        Mini gets squeezed from both sides. On the lower end, Fiesta, Soul, Fit and others threaten it from the bottom while GTI/Golf R, Focus ST/RS, WRX, Audi A3, BMW 2 series, and CLA encroach from above.

  • avatar
    zayg

    Drop the brand’s offering down to one model – the 2 door Cooper. Create a base and an S model. Throw money at another manufacturer to purchase reliable, tested, more powerful motors. As some others said, make the car highly highly customizable. Make as many of these customizations be dealer added as possible. Redesign the car to be slightly smaller and noticeably less bulbous. The current Mini is hideous and lacks any of the cheerful sleekness of the first gen.

    Reducing supply chain complexity by offering only one model (albeit a highly customizable product) should reduce the cost to produce. If BMW could leverage that I think they would be able to sell Coopers at a lower price and get more young marketing type girls that don’t have dad completely bankrolling them to purchase one of these for a bit of a premium instead of buying a Corolla.

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    The sales peaked in 2013 because the Gen 3 was going to be bigger, and with a possible 3 cylinder engine. This is why I ordered a 2013 S. Continually growing the proportions won’t work.
    My wife wanted an auto All4 Countryman S. NO power!
    If they are to remain, they will have to work on increasing HP.
    I would look at a Clubman S in 6 years when I am due for my next car. But when pricing one out today is just shy of 40k, I’m not so sure. They are like others have said, just like a jeep, you love them or hate them.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Funny, because I test-drove both the new Clubman and the new Countryman yesterday evening, since I’m considering both for my next car purchase, toward the end of the year—I’m not keeping that MKS forever. I was impressed with both of them. They feel a little less connected than their R56-based predecessors, but for that you get what I would consider to be cars that excellently blend the divide between usability and tossability. If I do buy a MINI at the end of the year, I will probably order it.

    • 0 avatar
      dzot

      Did you prefer one over the other?

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’n quite torn. I love the sleek profile and rear barn doors of the Clubman, but the Countryman is more practical and comes out cheaper dollar-for-dollar.

        • 0 avatar
          spyked

          That would be my dilemma too. I have a 4 door Cooper S and it’s big enough. But I also have a compact SUV for long trips. If I needed to go one step up and have only one car, I’d have a hard time deciding between Club and Country. I’m thinking Country just because the rear visibility is better without the barn door window frames. I test drove a Club S with a corduroy interior and it was great, but a tad wide.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I kinda/sorta looked at one when I was looking at Hondas last fall (the dealer sells both), and I couldn’t get over two things:

      1) The car felt cheap and poorly constructed for any price, and ridiculously so for the mid-$30,000 asking price.
      2) The exhaust note was silly and needlessly loud

      And I’ll add this one, though it’s my own prejudice:
      3) The epic number of ***incredibly*** dickish Mini drivers in my area

      And isn’t the Clubman on the same platform as a X1 BMW now? Feels like a good reason to buy a X1 instead.

      • 0 avatar
        spyked

        I’ve never seen a MINI dealer sell anything but MINI and maybe other BMW products. Interesting that they are allowed to sell Hondas at the same place.

        The new X1 is a Countryman underneath. The Countryman is the better value, IMO. Costs less, looks better, way better seats, same warranty coverage. Only reason to go for the X1 over the MINI would be if you liked the looks better or the BMW dealer was closer (or no MINI dealer near you) to your house.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      I’m also planning to get a Countryman at the end of the year. It will be my third MINI. I love my F56. The F60 everything my F56 is, plus more. My only hesitation: I really wanted my next car to have blindspot monitoring, and neither this nor the X1 does. The X1 is out because it doesn’t come in manual. I only buy manuals.

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      “They feel a little less connected than their R56-based predecessors”

      …and in turn, the R56 felt much less connected than the R53.

      Mini is losing the plot. Bigger, softer, more expensive… Essentially exactly what BMW has done to the entire (non-M) lineup.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Odd that I just read another article here that starts off bemoaning the loss of segment-specialist makes. *ahem* Here it is. I agree with others who make the Jeep comparison: poor reputation for reliability, and stuck in a niche they can’t leave. Jeep just happens to be in the right niche now, and Mini is where Jeep was circa 1977.
    The brand also offers BMW a way to do things like introduce FWD and 3cyl motors (lest we forget the X1 is a rebodied Countryman, and the 3cyl Mini motor is in the i8) and a convenient way to balance out M4GTS and Rolls CAFE numbers. Minis are also widely sold with 3 pedals, and in colors other than 50 Shades of Boring.
    *disclaimer* I own a green-over-brown, 3cyl, 3-pedal Mini.

  • avatar
    Windy

    I think the big mistake was replacing the supercharger engine with the turbo engine design… the one in my 04 CooperS has the smaller supercharger pulley mod I installed when it came out of new car warranty and also dis the brain remap to get best use out of it so the 205 HP makes it great sporty car and the thing uses no oil between the 5 to 6,000 mile oil changes (synthetic oil has been used from new)
    Non Boring color choice was a huge factor in my picking the MINI

  • avatar
    probert

    Put out a small one. Take a chance – make mini mini again. Call it the “me”.

  • avatar
    Chan

    The cars are ridiculously expensive, but they have a near-monopoly of stylish, fun, somewhat affordable suburban runabouts.

    I would be lying if I said I didn’t want a Countryman, manual, for family hauling.

    That said, I don’t know why the 5-door Hardtop exists when the Clubman does it far better. The former’s rear seat would have already been a joke in a coupé.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s the problem with Mini: I can think of a lot of compelling reasons to buy a GTI instead (doors don’t rattle like tin cans when you shut them, an exhaust note that doesn’t sound like the tuning was done by John Deere, a usable interior you can fit actual humans in, far lower price, etc).

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    Mini needs to get back to its roots in terms of who they are. Instead of pushing the high-end side of the business they need to focus on what made MINI great in the first place. It was the fun to drive, go-kart-like handling, and the sense of adventure that MOTORING brought with it.
    I own a 2011 MCCS and love it. Has it been reliable? Somewhat. Not nearly as reliable as my Mazda3 but it instantly puts a smile on my face when I drive it; something I can honestly say my Mazda3 never really did nor any car except for my ZX3 FOCUS. As my family grows up my oldest son will most likely inherit my Clubman and I’ll certainly look for another MINI; maybe a JCW hatch or Clubby.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I lost all desire for Minis when the current, bigger, long-nose, crappy-FWD-BMW-in-drag generation came out. Tighten the packaging back up and improve build quality and reliability and I could get interested again. There was a time when I badly wanted a JCW R56 hatch.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    Mini should remain a niche brand, but it could probably increase sales by offering three-box designs. Americans generally don’t like hatchbacks, but a two-door along the lines of the BMW 2002 and an extended four-door version might do well. Add a convertible for good measure. I think the Mini design language could translate well into those configurations.

    Unfortunately, this might step on parent BMW’s toes a little too much, at least in markets outside the US. I’m not sure we’re getting lower priced, FWD BMW sedans here. (I don’t care much about BMW anymore, so I haven’t been keeping track.)

    In this vein, I’d note that other sport compacts, the WRX and Civic Si, have abandoned the hatch configuration entirely, though Honda does offer the Civic Sport hatch model.

  • avatar
    slap

    MINI has a number of problems. One is that other small cars have gotten better and more premium. And car sales are dying – people are buying SUV/CUVs. And the catagory that the Countryman had to itself when it came out, the very small CUV segment, is now crowded.

  • avatar
    oleladycarnut

    MINIs are wildly popular in the Pacific Northwest. They are everywhere in the Puget Sound area of Washington state and MINI clubs are active and fanatic about their little niche cars.

    Of course they are a niche car, and what is wrong with that? The F56 generation of the hardtop is reliable, although since 2014 was the launch year it’s possible something may crop up.

    I wouldn’t trade my F56 for anything else because there isn’t anything comparable. I ordered it exactly how I wanted it and I like that. To me, nothing else drives or handles like a MINI. It’s not for hauling kids or dogs around. It’s not for hauling mulch. It’s my little feel good fun car that puts a huge grin on my face every morning when I fire her up. It’s my back roads zip mobile that takes me to all the beauty of the West coast. It’s my easy to maneuver city car and it’s a darned comfortable hi way cruiser.

    Also, I think the new Countryman and Clubman are brilliant. Just too much car for my needs.

    Long live the MINI! MINI world wide sales continue to climb so I wonder if the lower sales in the US make much of a dent in their bottom line.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Not sure about all this reliability stuff. We’ve had 2 Minis both have been faultless!

    I’d like to see BMW develop the Triumph brand as a brand for Mini lovers to grow into! Also I’d love a new TR6!

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Drove one when they first came out and was not impressed. Kind of heavy and clunky and not very sporty at all. And then there was the really high price. Followed by the mostly spotty reliability reports.

    I enjoyed seeing other people’s Minis here on the roads in LA since the color options are refreshing. And then they slowly started to make the styling worse with every refresh.

    Pass.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I think it’s wise for Mini (or MINI) to rationalize their offerings in the US. Our market is in one of it’s usual bubbles, and this time around it’s focusing on CUVs.

    My wife really wants a Countryman, but I could get a nice Jeep or some other SUV for that kind of money. And have less maintenance and possibly a higher resale too.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      FCA products are at or near the botton of the reliability heap. MINI is currently like #13, or well into the top-half the of market for reliability. I also highly doubt Jeep resale value is higher than MINI’s, which was historically near the top, and although not quite so high anymore, is still likely superior to Jeep’s.

      • 0 avatar
        redliner

        Have you seen the residuals on a Jeep Wrangler? They are IN-SANE! It’s like trying to buy a used Toyota Tacoma. Dents in every panel, 200k miles, ripped seats, some rust, a misfiring cylinder end and hazy headlights… $10k firm. Crazy!

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Lower the price. Done.

  • avatar
    Shawnski

    I think it will survive. While initially it was very much a young mans car, it has IMO evolved into a car middle age woman like. It has BMW verve and build quality, without the stigma of a precieved snob badge. Fun and unassuming?

  • avatar
    gespo04

    The Ford Flex with white roofs already looks like a mini. MAKE THAT. If the Ford Flex had Mini Badging I’m sure it would sell moderately well.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      That’s because the Ford Flex came out AFTER the (new)Gen 1 MINI did, and it SHAMELESSLY copied the MINI’s roofline, wraparound rear windows and contrasting roof, in a way that would make the Chinese proud. So, you’re suggesting MINI copy the copy of MINI? I don’t think so. Besides, Flexes are HUGE, and I don’t believe they’re selling very well at all. In fact, I think I read they’re being discontinued.

  • avatar

    Well, Mini is not so Mini any more. So are most people that try to squeeze themselves into BMW’s smallest car. The first New Mini looked nice, particularly since only the young and lean would fit into that one. Since then BMW has tried way too hard to bring the Mini to more customers, and it became bloated beyond brand recognition.

  • avatar

    I bought a British truck . . .

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