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Exclusive: MINI’s Worldwide 2014 MINI F56 Launch Delayed

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We learned last week at NAIAS that MINI’s F56 launch has been pushed back. Just how pushed back was a little unclear. At the time (as some of you may have heard in our interview with MINI USA Product Manager Pat McKenna) we heard that the F56 would simply launch this spring. I pushed Mr McKenna a bit and mentioned that spring is a long time – from March 21st to June 20th. He declined to give specifics but based on some readying between the lines it was pretty clear that the F56 initial production has been delayed likely until at least March. That would push the official dealer launches for Europe, the UK and parts of the US to April at the earliest.

Today we received confirmation of that timeframe.

According to sources MINI will be launching the F56 in Europe, the UK and the US in March and April respectively. Extrapolating a bit, we’d expect that’s mid/late March for the UK, early April for Europe and mid to late April for the US.

What about simply waiting for the 2015 model year? We’re told that that will start with July production this year potentially making the 2014 one of the more rare Hatchback models MINI has produced.

But there may be a reason to wait. As with most MINI and BMW model launches, there are some key options that come online a few months after initial production. In this case that was to be the JCW exterior package. With this delay we’d wager that we won’t see that as an option until summer at the earliest.

We’ll have much more on launch time-tables, price, performance and MPG later this week when MINI launches the car.

Written By: Gabe

  • lawrothegreat

    Oh no! I had been told my delivery was week 13 (24 March). Oh well. I’d love to know the reasons for the delay. I guess one should take comfort that if something isn’t right that MINI wants to rectify it before full production starts. As per another posting I saw a volcanic orange F56 Cooper on the road last week about 30 miles South of Oxford in the UK. They do exist!

    • Stew

      If I had one on Order I would be wanting to know why it’s late. If it’s just for business, Marketing or just organising the Global event fair enough. But if its for a fault that has been found that’s more serious. Good chance your car is Built.

    • Gareth

      My delivery is also week 13 with the build on week 11. My dealer has been told of no delay and that the launch weekend with demos is still on for the 15th March. There had been a bit of a delay with ordering of the car because of an issue with the led cornering lights and led fog light combo.

  • John

    Not trying to be sarcastic, but is anyone truly surprised by this? It seems that almost every time we are given some sort of due date it gets pushed back by MINI/MINI USA. I.e. The launch of the GP, F56 reveal, Paceman, etc. I’m expecting the release and/or delivered date of the Four-Door Hardtop to be delayed as well.

  • SF Dede

    Maybe its to fix the double chin?

    • dusty

      Hopefully they got the message the S is ugly. That lower lip sticks out there, and looks like a cheap add on.

  • robble

    did they say why?

  • slap

    Anybody know if the MINI Cooper (Non S) will come with conventional tires? And will it still have a well for a compact spare tire?

  • Ali Mir

    My dealer is getting the demos on March 15th

    Look forward to driving one here in the UK

  • Harold Dill

    I’m sure if I liked the car I’d be as eager as those disappointed by the delay and want to have it arrive asap. Fortunately, it is not an issue for me as I think this car achieves a benchmark for ugliness unless you see beauty in rotundity and incongruity. It is the culmination of a design trend that began in 2007. Regrettably the trend will continue until sales are impacted and that isn’t happening since the majority of new MINI buyers are not necessarily concerned with aesthetics and may not be interested in comparing the new with the old. That may be good for MINI, from a business perspective, but for the minority of enthusiasts that are passionate about MINI and seeing the brand retain its essential identity, it is not good whatsoever.

    • lawrothegreat

      There is no denying that some photos of the F56 are not the most flattering. The early snaps of the car (without camouflage) rightly caused significant concern amongst new MINI enthusiasts. However, the interesting thing about the F56 is that from several angles, its lines and shapes resemble the classic mini more than either the R50/R53 or R56 – look at the curvature of the roof or the rear of the car for example. The rear overhang of the F56 is actually tiny and yes the front overhang is an inch or so longer than many of us would have liked. However I can’t claim that the F56 is too large for two reasons. First I suspect that the F56 makes a more effective use of its space than the R50 – think boot volume and legroom versus the length of the car. Second the increase in external dimensions between the R50 and the F56 are considerably less than the increase between the classic mini and the R50. Interestingly everyone who has seen the F56 in the flesh have felt that it is a coherent design. I guess the rest of us will have to wait for a proper viewing in real life to make a judgement.

      • ulrichd

        I don’t agree. From the A-pillar back, ignoring the gigantic tail lights, the car is a mild remake of the R56. Yes, the front grill shape is a closer interpretation of the classic MINI grill, but the nose of the car has lost the classic lower hood/higher fender look. I realize this is due to the new passenger impact regulations, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it as the result, at least to my eyes, is not appealing. Especially in side profile, the car now looks completely unbalanced. The rear has the nice minimal overhang but the nose is now pushed way out.

        I would go as far as saying that the new regulations have blurred the retro design elements of the classic MINI to such an extent that for the next generation MINI should explore a more modern interpretation.

        • lawrothegreat

          It’s funny what you get used to though. If you look at photos of the F56 and then see an R50/R53 on the road, it seems all square and upright with surprisingly short bonnet.

        • ulrichd

          I know, that’s what made the car so charming.

  • glangford

    I’d be interested in why as well. Supplier problem, technical issue, manufacturing problem, certification problem, etc.? I remember the R56 launch had a problem with the bonnet not fitting correctly. It took a few months for that to sort itself out. That effected mostly european deliveries as they got them first for the R56 launch.

  • JohnBLZ

    Any measurements on the backseat? What’s the delta between the current R56 and the F56 there? Being able to put a carseat into it is important to me at this point in time, not rear facing thankfully, but I don’t want my kids feet to be crushed either.

    • SPICYJCWCOUPE

      Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve heard/read that the back seat leg room in the F56 will be ‘about’ the same as the R56. Hopefully it’s more! However, I’ve also read that the F55 4 door hatch to come out later this fall will have about 2 in (5cm) more leg room than the upcoming F56 2 door. Along with having those rear seat doors, it should be much more popular/usable than the 2 door. This would be especially good for those that need/want to use the rear seat for kids/car seats, & even an occasional adult or two…..more than just added storage space when the backs are folded down like the 2 door……

      • ulrichd

        I am glad MINI is coming out with the F55 4-door so they can leave the size of the F56 alone (well, more or less). I always cringe when people post that they like the MINI they just wished it was bigger. Kinda like a woman saying she likes that mini skirt she just wishes it was longer.

  • Herr26

    There is no issues with the MINI from a production point of view.

    Its simply marketing.

    The new BMW 2er Active Tourer is unveiled at Geneva prior to the market launch. Since it is the first BMW front wheel drive vehicle and a very big launch for BMW in terms of marketing and communication they want exposure fully on the Active Tourer.

    The official launch of the Active Tourer happens in February.

    Also the delay is also to advise future customers that a 5dr MINI for those that need practicality is on the way. Since a preview is expected. They want to communicate that production to market is not that distant for the 5dr although the 3dr launches first.

    • Stew

      Can I ask how do you know this?

      • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com/ Nathaniel Salzman

        Let’s just say that legend has it that if Her26’s true identity were to be revealed, he’d be escorted from BMW headquarters.

    • ulrichd

      Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the initial MINI introduction pushed back last year because of the euro 1-series introduction? Now this. Is MINI becoming a red headed step child?

    • lawrothegreat

      Thanks. I’m looking to reading the first reviews which I hope won’t be delayed!

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Not to mention that there is still standing inventory of the R56.

      I am looking forward to the launch of the her Active Tourer- will be in Geneva and expect a 5 door MINI as well there.

      Smart move by BMW on pushing this a bit; just not sure why they didn’t extend the R56 lifecycle until March with a June launch for the F56 if they saw this coming- seems like the overly short production year is more of a marketing headache (materials etc.) than it needs to be but what do I know?

    • Bmwmike

      Motoringherr26 is still an available site. ;)

  • fishbert

    Don’t care about the actual launch, so long as they get the online configurator up and running soon… that could keep my well and truly occupied in the mean time.

    • John

      That will probably be pushed back as well.

  • JonPD

    Good information Gabe, sorry to hear that to the prospective owners waiting out there. Nothing more painful that waiting for a new MINI.

  • wondersome

    So… dealers are out of hardtops… how will they keep it going until this one comes out?

  • Bud

    Aesthetics aside, I would imagine that technologically the F will feature progressive improvements. And although I appreciate such improvement there is no denying that automobile beauty is epidermal. It’s not likely that many would consider buying an M3 wrapped in Prius sheet metal. Admittedly beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some may see the F56 as the best looking design MINI has ever created and that’s okay. When I ,as an enthusiast, weigh all the criteria influencing my decision to buy the lever must tilt toward beauty before brawn. Of course, I am passionate about superb engineering and technological refinement, but the bottom line is undoubtedly appearance that excites my desire. If the diesel became available I could see myself possibly compromising. On the other hand I would consider retrofitting the D engine into an R53 however I think such radical surgery would be cost prohibitive. If I get too carried away, I’d retrofit a turbo-shaft turbine to drive the rear wheels … and may a rotor to avoid traffic snarls!


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