Ask Vinnie: Your Chance to Talk Directly to MINIUSA’s Product Manager

MINI Countryman

Over the past couple of years we’ve found some of the most popular stories on MF have been our “Ask MINI” features. They continue to be a rare opportunity to ask questions and get answers from MINI USA’s product manager; Vinnie Kung. So with the 2011 MINI’s about to be released and the Countryman and Coupé both hitting US shores next year, we thought it would be an ideal time to continue the tradition.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Post your question in the comment section below by Friday July 30th 11:59 pm.
  2. We’ll go through and pick the very best, combine them with a few of ours and interview Vinnie.
  3. Finally we’ll post the full Q&A interview right here next week.

The comment section will be open from today to Friday. Look for his answers on MF within two weeks.

Written By: Gabe

  • Jas

    Why can’t black headlight casings be with adaptive headlights?


    Got to reply to Ciaoboy about the large speedometer being displaced from the center. Made me laugh that someone would want to take away the one thing that defines any generation mini.

  • CiaoBoy

    Hehe. I much prefer both gauges in front of the driver, as in my 2006 MCS JCW.

  • Bill in Iowa

    CiaoBoy…..You do have both gauges in front of you. You have the tach and you have a digital speedometer. Personally, I think that the center mounted speedometer gives the Mini individuality, plus I rather like it there, maybe a bit smaller, but still I like it. All cars have the speedometer and gauges right in front of you and Mini makes it different.

  • mike

    What can we expect for mpg figures specifically the all4 with 6 speed manual?

  • CV

    Any chance that we will see both the tachometer and the speedometer in front of the driver at least offered as an option again? I really dislike the large speedometer in the center of the dash.


  • BobS

    European delivery. I don’t expect any special pricing, airfare, or the like. Just would like to order the car States-side, pick it up in Oxford or wherever, drive it for a few weeks or months through Europe, and have it shipped home for me with the next delivery to my local POE/VPC. Way better than renting a car…

  • Sal Salerno

    I really wanted a Camden edition but some of the new features such as Mini connected are enticing. Will White silver be among the new colors for standard use on an S

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Again many of these questions have been answers on several occasions. If you’re looking for 2011 information be sure to check out the 2011 Refresh section for answers to many of the questions here.

  • CiaoBoy

    I still would prefer an analog speedometer, not a digital one. As far as individuality is concerned, I don’t mind as long as ergonomics are not compromised as a result. I don’t like how Toyota put the instrument cluster in the center of the dash, like on the Echo or the Scion, and I don’t want MINI doing it either, even if it is part of its heritage. It’s the same reason I don’t like Saab putting its ignition switch in the center console or Porsche putting its ignition on the left side of the steering wheel.

  • Hoover

    OK. I’ve decided to stop reading these questions now. As I read them I can’t help but mutter, “Answered…answered…stupid…bitter…stupid…answereed…” I do realize that there are new folks on this site, and that not everyone reads everything here…but I just don’t have the patience for this. Hope you get at least a couple of good questions, Gabe.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    “Answered…answered…stupid…bitter…stupid…answereed…” I do realize that there are new folks on this site, and that not everyone reads everything here…but I just don’t have the patience for this.

    I’ll likely just grab a few from here and interview VInnie with my own questions. This is by far the worst showing we’ve ever had. Still 24 hours left though.

  • JonPD

    Another question Gabe

    What can Vinnie tell us about MINI USA’s view on the WRC MINI. I would love to see if MINI USA see’s this affecting the production models in the USA in the foreseeable future. If so will this be limited to the R60 or is the R58/R59/R56 going to see anything from this in his view?

    Another question would be what has Vinnie excited about the MINI brand today, in one year, and where would he like to see the brand go in the next 5 years.

    One final one for now would be as a self proclaimed performance enthusiast does he see the R58/R59 being the top of the performance MINIs in the future. Personally would still to love a R59 GP mk2.



    It is hard to put together a a good question without it being

    A) Stupid – why can’t I get a green interior on a blue car with red mirrors and yellow wheels? B) Confidential – so what are the official EPA numebers on the 2013 with 3cyl turbo/6M?? Hp?

    That being said here are my attempts:

    How come there is no one touch down (or up for that matter) on the R57? Was this a safety thing? Programming?

    Why did MINI eliminate the tilt/slide/memory (for getting into the back seat) from the passenger seats in the late 2010’s yet keep them on the drives side?

    With all of the attention on the Countryman, Coupe, and Roadster what is MINI going to do to keep the current R55/R56/R57 fresh for the next few years? (the 2011 LCI is nice but I see more people fleeing for the three new variants)

  • Blainestang

    @goat: We don’t always agree, but I agree with you here for sure. We need fewer bland metallic paint colors, and more bold non-metallics. There is a Japanese R53 that’s done up like a Signal Green GT3 RS and it looks great.

    @sdmidget: Another good point. Why so few white wheels in general?

    @Hoover: my feelings exactly

  • Blainestang

    @goat: We don’t always agree, but I agree with you here for sure. We need fewer bland metallic paint colors, and more bold non-metallics. There is a Japanese R53 that’s done up like a Signal Green GT3 RS and it looks great.

    @sdmidget: Another good point. Why so few white wheels in general?

    @Hoover: My feelings exactly. The vast majority are either ridiculous (when will MINI build a car that weighs less than a Lotus, has 300hp, and costs less than the current JCW… Oh, and make Awd a no-cost option!) or have been answered before (many times more than once).

  • goat

    @Blainestang – I’ve seen that car I think… it looks fantastic! Was thinking of that MINI as well as of this P-car Cayman photo (assuming link works): http://www.autoblog.com/photos/2009-porsche-cayman-s/#1314994

  • Minipuma

    If there’s one thing that I bet 99% of all the people on this forum would agree on, it’s that the current color palette is clearly lacking in a certain sportiness. Every color swap of the past year or two — Spice Orange in place of Mellow Yellow, White Silver in place of Pure Silver, Ice Blue in place of Oxygen Blue, and so on — seems to move the palette more into Lexus-ish luxury car tones, satiny finishes (Velvet Silver, Eclipse Grey), and ambivalent levels of saturation (Spice Orange) that seem to suggest a hesitation on the part of the color designers about what they are trying to accomplish.

    My question for Vinnie would be, is MINI getting feedback from American dealers, salespeople, and customers about what colors they’d like to see on the lot? Why do the new colors so often go against the grain of what appears to be public opinion? Are we being unfair when we note that it sometimes seems that many colors remain metallic only so customers can be charged the extra $500?

  • jason

    These might also qualify as stupid, but: With MINI/BMW’s decision to build the new city car from carbon fiber, could we see more CF options for MINI owners like a CF roof, hatch, bonnet, etc…? Also, I still really want pull handles (straps) for the interior door handles a la certain Porsche variants. Is there any way that we could see more simple, non costly ideas like this that will further differentiate MINI’s from other mass production vehicles?

  • b-

    Will a 6’3″ non petite person fit into the coupster? The MINI is great for tall folk but if I can’t get in without clocking my head…

  • Dusty

    One more question, will chrome wells be an option? I love my chrome rims on my R56.

  • mellowmcs

    Will yellow be offered?

  • JonPD

    I would also love to know with the Fiat 500 being brought to the US has MINI thought about bringing to MINI One to the US. How does Vinnie see the Fiat introduction here will affect MINI USA with its current stateside lineup?

    I would also love to if the MiTo and Focus RS comes stateside how is MINI USA going to deal with this move. Since the US being the largest MINI market what types of ideas does Vinnie have to keep the brand loyalty?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1557360240 Mark O’Neill

    Vinnie: What is your favorite episode of South Park, and who is your favorite character? (I figure you were tired of all MINI all the time)

  • JonPD

    Any chance that we will see the Twins at any events in the US before the launch, if so generally when can we expect this. Also can he provide any further details on where they are at currently with the Twins.

    Keep hoping they sneak them to MTTS but I am quite certain that this time its all about the R60.

  • dc11

    Will mini ever make a product that is true to the JCW brand?

    Meaning, will there ever be what the M3 is to a normal 3-series? A true drivers car that is blatantly different from the normal 3 series, with the performance much better as well (standard and not at a premium, of course)???

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674275315 Glenn Austin

    Will we ever see a MINI One based R60 or something in the Cooper lineup. A nice entry level car to compete with the Honda Fit and Mazda 2.

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