Chart Of The Day: Mini Countryman Sales Are Crumbling In The United States

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.

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Who Reads The Instruction Manual? (Update: No One)

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?

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Fiat Chrysler Tops Annual 'Total Quality' Survey

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.

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[UPDATED] 2016 MINI Clubman Official Images Revealed Ahead Of Frankfurt

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].

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4-Door Is Providing A Big Sales Boost To Mini USA

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 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.

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Bark's Bites: The Good, The Not-As-Good, and The Ugly: Part Two

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.

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Mini Superleggera Gets 2018 Production Nod to Be One of Brand's Superheroes

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.

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Geneva 2015: MINI Countryman Park Lane Unveiled

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

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Goodbye Mini Coupe And Mini Roadster, Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

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 the two cars – or at least considered replacing them with new versions off the new Mini platform – had sales been strong.

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Toyota, BMW Working On Entry-Level MINI Minor Model

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

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NAIAS 2015: 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop Revealed

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

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A 21st Century 318is

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.

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All The Minis Are Down Except The One That Counts

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 in October 2014 than in October 2013. In some cases, the declines represented significant losses.

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McKenna: MINI Coupe, Roadster Dead By 2015

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

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Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey

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.

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  • SCE to AUX "awesome patina"The ad is better than the car. 1983 with new belts - I'll go up to $1000 since it runs.
  • Kcflyer Seems like a nice enough vehicle. But hard to imagine there are not much more compelling options for 65 grand.
  • MaintenanceCosts This was one of the only good engines Subaru ever made wrapped in a body made of human repellent.
  • MaintenanceCosts Headed soon to occupy four parking spots at your local Costco.
  • MaintenanceCosts I have yet to drive either this one or its Pathfinder sibling. I had zero objection to the CVT in their predecessors, though. You need smoothness more than instant response in this class of vehicle, and it was possible to drive the CVT-equipped Pathfinder very smoothly indeed. Both it and my own "eCVT" Highlander Hybrid are much better in that respect than the last 8-speed Sienna I drove, and I'll be surprised if I actually think the 9-speed is an improvement.