The last few months of MINI worldwide sales have told a very different story than the US market. With the UK down 40% for October and the Oxford Plant shut down for the holiday season early, it would appear that the iconic brand hasn’t weathered the current economic storm as well as some had hoped. So why are US sales continuing to climb when compared to this time last year?
We believe there are a couple of reasons for that. For one a good percentage of MINI sales in the US are ordered from the factory and have been in the queue for many months. Therefore much of what we’re seeing in November sales were actually generated from July through October – before the full brunt of the recent economic crisis hit. Secondly it was around that same time that gas prices were at their highest point ever in the US market which certainly further some interest in the MINI brand and resulted in even more orders.
MINI is still well positioned as to weather the current economic climate. As gas prices rise (and they will rise again no question) and purse strings start to loosen up we expect MINI sales to level off near where they were at for 2008. However don’t be surprised to see a big dip in numbers this winter as the excitement of buying a new car (even a MINI) is tempered by the economic reality that some are facing.
But that’s just our opinion. What’s yours? We’d love to hear from those MF readers who actually are in MINI sales as they obviously have a unique perspective into all of this.