Jun 30th, 2004
From the BBC:
In recent weeks, the company has taken some of its colleagues on nights out at comedy clubs, or lent them cars for the weekend.
They are all being rewarded for their ideas which have helped transform the fortunes of this plant.
All employees at Cowley – or as BMW has renamed it, Plant Oxford – now have to come up with three ideas a year on how to improve the production process.
In the last year their suggestions have produced cost-savings of more than £11m.
Jun 30th, 2004
For the first time you can actually see all the new colors on both cars:
Cooper / Cooper S
Jun 29th, 2004
The MINI Convertible is here. Instead of the usual write-up everyone seems to be doing (and we already did back in early April) we're going to instead focus on some of the changes and additions that are less talked about.
- Everyone seems to take photos of the convertible with the top up or down. Here are a few in “sunroof” mode: 1 / 2 / 3
- According to the initial MINI PR release about the new convertible there was to be rear LED lights. Well I've seen quite a few convertibles in the past 3 months and all of them including the US spec one I saw today did not have rear LED lights. I'm not sure why the spec changed but there certainly seems to have been a change. You can read an excerpt of the original PR release here.
Jun 29th, 2004
You may want to file this under rumor: AutoExpress is reporting that the next generation MINI may have a clip-on roof that would help with production times. Here's an excerpt:
The Oxford factory is already working flat-out to try to keep up with customer demand, but it can only make 180,000 models a year. It's the plant's paintshop which is being blamed for slowing the manufacturing process down, and Auto Express can reveal that it's the number of orders for colour-contrasting roofs which is causing the logjam.
A senior BMW boss admitted that painting the main body of the car and the roof different colours was causing a serious problem, and that a plastic coating – which could be clipped to MINI's distinctive roof gutter while the car rolls down the production line – might be the best solution.
Jun 28th, 2004
MotoringFile is happy to introduce Ask an Motoring Advisor or Ask an MA today. The idea is to help those that have questions about the purchase, spec, or just about anything else regarding the MINI get some answers.
Our trusty MA works at a large MINI dealership and is well versed in all things MINI.
Here's how it works. Post the questions in the comments section below that you'd like to see answered. Then in several days we'll post the questions chosen and the subsequent answers. Questions will be chosen by the MA and not all are guaranteed to be chosen as I'm sure there will be some redundancies.
The Motoring Advisor responsible for the answers will remain anonymous but rest assured – he/she is a real MA!
So… ask away!
Note: While our MA may try to answer some service related questions he/she would in no way, be an authority on the those topics. Questions that a Motoring Advisor can easily answer would be things such as spec questions, release dates, and pricing to name just a few. Also Our MA can't look up details on specific production numbers or VINs.
UPDATE: We have closed this edition of Ask an MA. Answers to selected questions will be posted Monday. Don't worry if you didn't get your question in on time – we'll be doing this again soon!
Jun 28th, 2004
For those who have purchased or are looking into the purchase of the MINI FINI Sport Link system and have been searching for install instructions – look no further! We've got the official PDFs for both the base system and the bike holder. You can find them in the How To section of Motoringfile under “Exterior Mods”.
FYI – we've also changed the look of the “How To” page. Check it out when you have a chance. It's a bit of a preview of what's to come…
Jun 27th, 2004
A while back Ian Cull posted short article on his MINI blog
about a recent purchase of the original Rover press release about the MINI Spiritual concept. It got me wondering how many of today’s owners know the rather turbulent and interesting history of the MINI in the 1990’s. That turbulence is reflected in the three concepts that BMW and Rover built in the mid 90’s and the design process that surrounded them.
Various government backed companies that manufactured the Mini through the years were less than successful on the business side of things. In fact British Leyland, Rover, etc tried to kill the Mini more than once (first to avoid converting the engine to run on unleaded, then to avoid increasing safety requirements) but English public opinion was too negative. So when BMW bought Rover and the Mini there was quite a bit of hope for the future.
Development on some of these concepts took place independent of BMW which was also creating what would eventually become the E50
and then the R50 – the new MINI. Here’s an excerpt from Robson’s “New
MINI” that details some of this time period:
“Even as early as 1994, designers on both sides of the
channel dusted off their sketches of Mini-sized cars and started
turning them into models, both scale and full size. Though neither knew
that the other was running rival projects, Fave Saddington looked after
MINI work at Gaydon, while Frank Stephenson ( an American citizen with
much experience at GM and Ford before he joined BMW in 1991) forged
ahead in Munich.