Meanwhile, however, there's greater cause for concern that the safety of MINI-class automobiles isn't up to snuff. That makes sense in a basic way: The smaller the mass of a vehicle in a collision with another vehicle or fixed object, the greater the chances of structural damage and harm to driver and passengers no matter how compliant the car is with federal safety standards.
A new test by the respected Insurance Institute for Highway Safety underscored such concerns recently. Only one of what the institute termed a "minicar" out of 11 tested, the Chevrolet Spark, was able to achieve an acceptable rating in its front crash test, "making these tiny vehicles the worst-performing group of any evaluated so far," the group said.
MINI wasn't among those tested; the failed models included the Fiat 500, Mazda 2, Kia Rio and Honda Fit. Some of these cars aren't typically considered in the same market segment as Mini and Smart because they're a tad larger.
But in any event, surely the timing wasn't great for the model that arguably is the flagship of America's mini-car fleet, giving MINI something extra to overcome with its new ad campaign.