It’s no secret that we weren’t crazy about the idea of the MINI Countryman when we first heard about it. The very thought of a MINI SUV was repugnant to most enthusiasts, and still is to some. However, now that we’ve driven it, the Countryman has more than won us over. Regardless of where you stand on the fan/hater continuum, there’s one thing we’ve said many times here and on WhiteRoofRadio: MINI needs the Countryman for long-term financial health, and this previous month’s record-breaking sales figures prove it. This Countryman-powered growth is what makes more enthusiast-oriented cars like the MINI CoupÃ© possible. So we were delighted to read that we’re not alone in this opinion.
New Countryman owner and obvious MINI enthusiast Aaron has been chronicling his Countryman ownership experience from order to current motoring adventures. The old guard here at MotoringFile should recognize this enthusiasm, as it’s exactly what many of us did back in the day when we ordered our R50s an R53s. Recently, he pointed to a post by automotive commentary and analysis site Good Car Bad Car, going in-depth along the same lines as our long held opinion that the Countryman is critical to MINI’s long-term growth and success. They do a great job diving into the numbers.
Don’t go confusing the Countryman with the Honda CR-V or even the Volkswagen Tiguan. VW, for instance, sold nearly twice as many Tiguans as MINI sold Countrymen/Countrymans in May. And for every MINI Countryman sold, Honda sold 9.5 CR-Vs last month, and it was a bad month for the CR-V.
But that’s beside the point. MINI doesn’t introduce models intending to take over mass market segments. Anyhow, we’re studying the Countryman’s impact on the MINI fleet. This leads us to discover that, without the Countryman in May, MINI would’ve been down 3.4%. So far this year, the Countryman has helped MINI post an 18.7% improvement. But without the Countryman, MINI’s year-over-year jump is just 6.3%, not nearly as healthy as the overall new vehicle market’s 14% improvement.
The full post is definitely worth a read. Particularly interesting is their breakdown of how the Countryman and the Hardtop models are essentially carrying MINI sales at present, as Convertible and Clubman sales decline. Furthermore, they go on to explore the Countryman’s impact in Canada, where it has to go up against the BMW X1. Big thanks to Aaron for pointing this out and kudos on sharing your enthusiasm with all of us through your blog.