Last week we reported that MINI USA had decided at the last minute to delay all F56 Cooper deliveries. Since that time MINI USA has not only sent us an official statement but also spoke with us off the record about the incident. You can read the official statement here. But as usual the off record comments are a bit more telling. They not only speak to the importance of the F56 launch but to the lessons learned from various R56 issues.
The issue on the F56 revolves around the oil filter housing. Last week (just a few days before the launch) MINI USA discovered that the Cooper could theoretically experience some engine coolant leakage from the oil filter housing. However the interesting thing is that this fault occurred in one situation after a year of testing hundreds of cars. In other words after over a year testing the F56 on US soil MINI USA came across a single issue last week. Why did MINI go to the trouble of mandating a replacement part for all cars and demanding an updated part for our future production? According to our off the record conversation MINI USA, simply didn’t want to take chances with such an important launch. In other words it’s better to nip this issue in the bud now than to deal with a few hundred cars potentially affected by something that could starve the engine of oil.
We’re not trying to be overly kind to MINI here. But in a time when some automakers measure lives in parts worth dollars, it was reassuring to hear MINI representatives sincerely concerned about early adopters and making sure they get the best quality possible. And if you’ve been following various R53 and R56 oil starvation issues, you can understand why MINI is making a point to take better care of their customers early rather than dealing with serious issues later.
For those who have cars affected by the measure, we’ve been reassured that the parts have just been shipped to the US and the fix is currently underway. We’d expect deliveries to resume in the coming week or two.