After reviewing the results, it is probably safe to say we won’t be seeing a MINIUSA press release on this one. Yet again, MINI finished below the industry average in 30th place. For comparison’s sake, in the 2005 Initial Quality Survey MINI fared about the same.
One bright spot in the survey was that a BMW factory in Germany was the recipient of a Plant Quality Award. While both surveys mentioned above are only measures of initial quality, last year the 2002 MINI was ranked 3rd worst in long term reliability. The long term study is an ongoing look at the models put into the market three years prior.
Analysis: Whether or not these initial quality surveys are an accurate predictor of long term reliability for cars of the same model year is debateable. However, MINI’s consistent poor performance on quality and reliability surveys does have a negative impact on the the brand image.
For the cars that have already left the factory, there is nothing more to do that hope that the conventional wisdom regarding the 2005 and 2006 models being better built winds up getting reflected when the long term reliability data is collected in 2008 and 2009.
Looking to the introduction of the next generation MINI later this year, one does have to wonder if MINI will be able to make a significant improvement in reliability with the R56 or whether the ghosts of 2002 will return.