MF Interview: MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download | 16.7MB | 34:36

Last week Todd and I sat down virtually with Vinnie Kung, MINI USA Product Manager on the occasion of the LA Autoshow. As usual when we sit down with Vinnie, we talked about everything MINI. From the new Roadster to the B Spec race car to clutch feel in the Countryman. And even why some Americans want MINI’s largest vehicle even bigger. As usual Vinnie was candid and eager to answer almost everything we threw at him. You can see a quick list of what we discussed after the break.


  • 2011 and Countryman sales
  • Paceman
  • Roadster specifics
  • Roadster top and head room
  • Recaros
  • Coupe sales
  • New B Spec Race car
  • MINI Yours
  • Colors (Laguna Green)
  • JCW Countryman
  • MINI USA and the WRC
  • JonPD

    Great to hear from Vinnie again.

    Do have to say though I am very disappointed in MINIUSA about the Recaro timing. As a early adopter of the R58 and basically being a top end spec that has more accessories than most cars I would have gone after these in a instant. If MINI would have announced this when the Coupe would have went on sale I would have even held the order. As is I dropped 2k on lounge leather only to be looking another 2750. So in effect I will have 5k seats and fell pretty screwed.

    Would have loved if you guys would have asked why they did not choose the Coupe Cooper for the B-spec car. They are selling the twins as the sports car of the brand. Meanwhile the R60 plays in WRC, the R56 in B-spec and outside of the one time showing of the MINI Endurance the R58 is being widely ignored in my view.

    • R Burns

      It’s not the first time that good accessories are not available when a new Mini go on sale, as a Mini fan you should have known that…

      The R56  in B-spec is the good choice for financial reasons,  owners can recycle their R56 into a race car, and are not forced to buy the much expensive Coupe Cooper

      • JonPD

        Don’t get me wrong R Burns, I don’t at all mind the B-Spec cars as is, just think the R58 is the perfect choice for what the brand is trying to sell the Coupe as.

        I also don’t mind at all that the seats will be out in March, late arrival is fine. However I think its a huge flaw that MINI and MINIUSA did not at least notify Coupe owners of this as a possible option when the orders for the R58 were opened. Personally I would have just stuck with the default MINI seats and happily wait for the Recaro seats. More like the JCW suspension, I did not bother with the sports suspension because they released info about the JCW kit coming out. I don’t mind spending money later for wanted accessories but the lack of information feels like somebody at MINI and MINIUSA broadly dropped the ball.

        • R Burns

          I understand…  we often used to that way of working from Mini, what a shame !

  • Anonymous

    is this going up on WRR?

  • Brian

    Vinnie mentioned the the Semi-auto top operation will not be available at the launch of the Roadster. Any Idea when that might be?

    • Nathaniel Salzman

      The delay is most likely due to the extra complication in engineering, manufacturing and components suppliers necessary for the semi-auto roof. This is why the Coupe came out before the Roadster, and likely why the simpler manual top will come out before the power assisted one. 

  • Karl

    I’ve got a 2009 factory JCW now (fifth MINI).  I’ve been an early adopter in the past, and always kick myself when a couple of months after I pick up my car, MINI adds an accessory that I would have wanted.  That’s why I’m going to wait for the JCW Roadster with the new engine.

    Does anyone have any idea when we can expect the N18 JCW engine in the Roadster?