So 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.
WHAT'S COMING UP?
August's run is a joint run with our friends in Silicon Valley Club, co-hosted by James Schenck (SVM) & Simon Tidesley (NorCal MINI...
The Truth About Cars discusses this conundrum and explains the Paceman's demise, in part:
CARTYPE examines the new 2015 MINI John Cooper Works and starts its examination:
Green light for the latest edition of the top athlete in the small car segment; the new MINI John Cooper Works combines authentic race feeling with the premium characteristics and extended product substance of the latest MINI Generation; distinctive, tradition-steeped, based on a vehicle concept combining MINI and John Cooper Works, with performance qualities which are exceptional within the competitive environment.
NorthAmericanMotoring.com the dates of August 5-9, 2015 for MINIS in the Mountains at Snowmass, CO. Booking for lodging is now open.
The Daily Toggle reports:
"MINI USA has told its dealers that its “Motorer Obsession” program will continue in 2015 according to Automotive News. The program which started last July, reimburses dealers when they exceed customer’s expectations, sometimes in NOT NORMAL ways. . . . ."
Last week, MINI USA named Mark Orlando as Department Head of Sales. He will replace Sadir Haji who has been given to role of Head for Regional Sales & Marketing in the Eastern Region. For 2015, one of MINI USA’s goal is a strong push on sales and advertising at the national and local levels, and these nominations appear to be in line with David Duncan’s strategy.Read the official BMW press release at MotoringFile..
Paultan.org hosts spyshots of the upcoming new MINI Clubman that, for the first time, include a view of the entirely new interior.
AutoTrader.com looks at the 2015 MINI Cooper S and ultimately decides:
In the end, we think the 2015 MINI Cooper is an excellent car, but we're not sure if it's so excellent that we'd pay $30,000 or more for a well-equipped S model. That's especially true in the face of a wide range of powerful new competitors including the Ford Focus ST and the newly redesigned Volkswagen GTI, both of which offer more power and two extra doors. While competitors may offer a better value, few vehicles can compete with the MINI's unique styling and its immediate name recognition.
MotoringFile thinks it found out why MINI deliveries were stopped:
Apparently the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is incorrect on both the VIN label and the cargo weight capacity tire label. Since the values on the labels is federally regulated by the NHTSA, MINI is required to notify the NHTSA that they are going to change the labels. And of course they’re legally obligated to since they do not comply with federal regulations.
. . . According to multiple sources at dealers MINIUSA has issued a delivery stop on all F56 MINI Cooper produced from Dec 2013 to Dec 2014.
Given that date range that’s obviously all F56 MINI Cooper produced for the U.S. Up until this point. While this doesn’t affect the Cooper S, this is very likely over 50% of F56 MINIs on the roads or dealer lots.
The reason is still a mystery with MINI calling it only a “Potential regulatory compliance issue”.
car advice announces:
Mini will seek to bring more young families to the brand by introducing the entry-level 5 Door Cooper One to Australia early in 2015.
As with the rest of the 5 Door range, the 5 Door Cooper One will cost $1100 more than its equivalent three-door, meaning a starting price of $25,600 for the six-speed manual and $28,950 for the six-speed auto (prices before on-road costs) – $2150 cheaper than the regular 5 Door Cooper.
The Cooper One is powered by a 1.2-litre version of the brand’s three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 75kW of power and 180Nm of torque – down 25kW and 40Nm compared with the Cooper’s larger 1.5-litre.
Jochen Goller will move to China where he will take over an extended role with overall responsibility for Sales and Marketing at the BMW Brilliance Joint Venture in China. Mr Goller (48), who has headed up the MINI brand since 2013, already has experience when it comes to the Chinese market. During his 15-year career with the BMW Group, he was previously Head of Marketing at BMW China before returning to Europe, where he first took over responsibility for the MINI brand in Great Britain and Ireland ahead of moving to his current job.
From 1 March 2015, Sebastian Mackensen will take on responsibility for the MINI brand. Mr Mackensen (43) joined the BMW Group in October 2013 as Head of MINI Sales. Before that and following his studies in Business Administration, Mr Mackensen gained a broad range of sales experience in the premium automotive industry both in Germany and abroad.
INAUTONEWS has six photos of this mule cold weather testing and fueling up.
The Daily Toggle reports:
A MINI ALL4 Racing has won the challenging Dakar Rally for the fourth straight year. In all, MINI placed 9 cars in the top 10 spots.
The Dakar Rally covered more than 9,000 kilometers through Argentina, Chili and Bolivia. Nasser Al-Attiya/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR) won five of the 14 legs and were overall winners.
MINI looked very strong from the start. A MINI ALL4 Racing won 11 of 13 stages, five of them being double victories. A MINI took four of the top five spots, and nine of the top 10 spots overall.
MINI ALL4 Racing 2015 Dakar Rally Lineup.
Monster Energy Rally Raid Team
#300 Nani Roma/Michel Périn (ES/FR)
#305 Orlando Terranova/Bernardo „Ronnie“ Graue (AR/AR)
#306 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (PL/FR)
#310 Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RU/RU)
#314 Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL)
#319 Boris Garafulic/Filipe Palmeiro (CL/PT)
#329 Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KZ/RU)
#332 Zhou Yong/Andreas Schulz (CN/DE)
#334 Stephan Schott/Holm Schmidt (DE/DE)
Qatar Rally Team
#301 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel (QT/FR)
2015 Dakar Rally Final Results
#01 Al-Attiyah/Baumel – MINI ALL4 Racing – 40:32:25h
#02 De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz -Pick up Hilux Toyota – 41:07:59h
#03 Holowczyc/Panseri – MINI ALL4 Racing – 42:04:26h
#04 Van Loon/Rosegaar – MINI ALL4 Racing – 43:34:17h
#05 Vasilyev/Zhiltsov – MINI ALL4 Racing – 43:45:06h
#09 Rakhimbayev/Nikolaev – MINI ALL4 Racing – 44:41:09h
#12 Garafulic/Palmeiro – MINI ALL4 Racing – 46:00:34h
#13 Zhou/Schulz – MINI ALL4 Racing – 46:07:49h
#17 Terranova/Graue – MINI ALL4 Racing – 47:39:19h
#21 Schott/Schmidt – MINI ALL4 Racing – 49:51:23h
BestRide.com reviews the 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop and finds:
Mini is right when it says that no two Coopers are alike, and the ability to make them unique is a continuing pull for Mini buyers. Although it has made some concessions in its move toward the middle of the road, the Mini Cooper Hardtop still has style and sportiness to spare.
So maybe the best part is that it retains a version of its distinct flavor; as new cars become more homogeneous, the Mini still stands out.
Auto Blog advises, in part:
There’s no doubt upon seeing the Countryman that it’s a MINI, though side-by-side, you’d be hard-pressed to point to similarities. This styling magic captures the overall MINI effect in a completely different form, but still rings true to the brand and the vehicle’s purpose.
msn motoring provides a review of the 2014 MINI Cooper and notes, among other things:
Steering is lighter than its predecessor, but it’s more communicative and feels more accurate too. And the brakes have got a nice bite with a good progressive action.
Motorsport.com reports, in part:
British team JRM confirmed it has acquired a brace of MINI RX rallycross cars from Prodrive.
The cars have just arrived at JRM’s headquarters in Daventry, Northamptonshire and are currently being evaluated ahead of the 2015 season. JRM has also acquired a complete spares package and all of the MINI RX Intellectual Property (IP) from Prodrive.
Dune hopping is no hobby, and the X-raid Team in their MINI ALL4 Racing have had their work cut out for them on the Dakar 2015 route. [Click] for an exclusive look at their sand-spraying antics.
Car and Driver goes Detroit to California and back, become a commuter car. Overall a positive review but here is what went wrong and why:
WHAT WENT WRONG AND WHY: Despite the lackluster structural integrity, our Mini has been reasonably easy to live with. The car visited the dealer twice while in California around 11,000 miles, but neither stop cost us a dime. The first was a scheduled oil and filter change and inspection, which was covered under Mini’s included free maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles. An oil leak prompted the second visit shortly thereafter, with the problem being a faulty oil-filter housing, which was tended to under warranty as a known issue. Being Michigan in December, our largest expense since the car returned to HQ has been a set of 205/45-17 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 run-flat winter tires ($736 from Tire Rack), which we mounted on a set of replacement 17-inch wheels provided by Mini (we were unable to obtain run-flat winter rubber in the OE size for the car’s stock 18s). Then, because we’re vain, we spent $62.63 for four new center caps that weren’t included with the winter wheels. Although the squishy winter tires make it difficult to analyze any changes in dynamic performance from the taller sidewalls, they do at least provide a bit more cushion to the ride over frozen, pockmarked pavement.
Granted, the new JCW is everything we expected it to be. It has aggressive styling, the most powerful engine fitted in a Mini as of 2015, a decent amount of luxury and a host of customization options. But just like any other Mini, the JCW is basically a fashion accessory that’s a tad too expensive for this segment.
In its MINI UK production network, the business is looking for 47 new apprentices to take up places in August 2015. In addition, BMW and MINI retailers are looking to recruit around 150 young people across the UK, a third more than in 2014. . . .
[Source: Spy Shot Video @ YouTube]
autoevolution gives the 5-door a 7.4 out of 10.
BMW Group PressClub USA official press release:
Woodcliff Lake, NJ – January 12, 2015… The new 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will make its World Premiere today at the North American International Auto Show, featuring the most powerful engine ever installed in a MINI production model. The latest high performance addition to the MINI line up will be priced at $30,600 plus $850 Destination & Handling in the U.S. and will go on sale in the spring.
The 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will make its much-anticipated World Premiere with a grand introduction by none other than rally legend Rauno Aaltonen at MINI’s press conference in Hall D of the COBO Center, at 1:20 pm ET. Aaltonen will take the stage in a Classic Mini similar to the 1966 Mini Cooper S that he drove to victory in the famed Monte Carlo Rally in 1967.
With Aaltonen on hand and the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop in the spotlight, MINI proudly announced a new motorsports partnership with LAP Motorsports to compete in the Street Tuner (ST) class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The Indianapolis-based team owned and operated by racing veteran Luis Perocarpi will begin running the MINI John Cooper Works cars in the series later this year.
MINI’s long history of rally-car racing has always been reflected in the brand’s John Cooper Works performance series, and the newest Hardtop further extends that tradition. The latest edition in the premium line, the 2015 MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop offers the most powerful engine ever installed in the brand’s production models, delivering optimal performance to the premium small-car segment.
“This is undoubtedly an exciting time at MINI as we relaunch the John Cooper Works sub-brand as a true model in itself and with the most powerful engine we’ve ever had in a production model MINI,” said David Duncan, Vice President MINI of the Americas. “The new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop will be an important part of our business moving forward, offering customers a premium high performance vehicle in a small package.”
Specially tuned for high performance on the track and on the road, the first John Cooper Works model to be built on the shared front wheel drive global architecture with BMW Group will be powered by the latest generation MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology four-cylinder engine. The car also features a sports exhaust, refined suspension technology and model-specific design features which not only optimize the car's aerodynamic features, but also guarantee a fun and efficient ride with an irresistible temperament.
In addition to the World Premiere of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop, the stunning MINI Superleggera Vision concept will also be on display, along with the MINI Hardtop 4-Door which made its North American debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.
Check out the latest video of the new MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop in action featuring legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and French Rally Car driver Guerlain Chicherit.
Daily Mail reports a driver was unhurt after he swerved to avoid an object on a tight bend next to the Blue Lagoon beauty spot in Belmont, Lancashire. As a result of the maneuver the driver and his MINI landed in the reservior. The driver escaped the freezing water by climbing out of through boot.
Steve @ Motoring Alliance.
The Drum reports,in part:
Mini has teamed with motoring marketplace Auto Trader to create a content hub to showcase the brand’s ‘The Great British Weekend’ proposition for its seven models.
The hub aims to place Mini as the essential partner for the weekend, with a competition to allow visitors to the hub to win their own Mini Great British Weekend, with their choice of Mini car to take them there. . . . .
The MINI ALL4 Racing has once again proven its excellent drivability and reliability under tough conditions: Nasser Al-Attiyah (QT) and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FR) have clinched yet another stage win at the 2015 Dakar Rally.
The MINI ALL4 Racing has once again proven its excellent drivability and reliability under tough conditions...
Can you say s t r e t c h ? And what do you think of that new interior?
Aside from the rear barn doors, the next Clubman looks to have a lot in common with the new five-door Hardtop, which makes sense considering how much the current car has in common with the R56 that it's based upon. That similarity ends quickly once you take a look inside the cabin.
While 6,615 vehicles sold in December 2014 only represents a 0.3% increase compare to the same month last year (i.e. 6,592), the brand sets a new record. It is not only MINI USA’s best December ever but also their best month since the British icon came back to US shores . . . .
The Wheel Deal thinks the MINI 5 Door is the product of a MINI mid-life crisis. It writes, in part:
The Mini is trying to be bigger to make room for your wife and kids, but with minimal success, writes The Wheel Deal
There comes a time in your life when you have to wave goodbye and move on. Like when you slip past 32 and one day realise, quite reasonably, that those wild weekends of nightclub debauchery must come to an end. The partying. The liquid indulgence. The waking up next to yet another “what’s-her-name-again”.
While you are caught in the painful throngs of a two-day hangover (your liver ain’t what it used to be) the costs of a hedonistic life will prey on your mind until they incite a sudden snap change.
“It’s time to grow up,” you’ll mutter under your breath, “to get real and trade revelry for responsibility.” So you decide to make your aged parents proud by getting that good job, wooing the nice girl and selflessly delivering a pair of grandchildren. A whole new era will begin. One in which your old Mini Cooper S will surely have no place. You’ll need to stick it up on Gumtree and use the proceeds to garage something larger that can better cope with strollers and milky baby sick.
This scenario has long been the elephant trapped inside the Mini marketing room. Because, let’s face it, when you build a two-and-a-dwarf-seater hatchback intended mostly for self-indulgent road fun, your target market is pretty much limited to the young and the single (or in some cases the recently divorced — but that’s a whole different story).<
Automotive News reports:
Mini is expected to discontinue three slow-selling nameplates -- the Coupe, Roadster and Paceman -- so it can concentrate on the four that accounted for about 95 percent of the nearly 325,000 vehicles it built last year, according to data from IHS Automotive.