MINI Sales Slump Finally Hits the Press

We’ve been reporting on it all year. But now it would seem the automotive press has picked up on the figures. Here’s Automotive News on the recent slump:

After a flat 2013, Mini’s U.S. sales are down 20 percent through October. The slump has left some pundits wondering whether Mini could suffer the problems of other once-trendy retro nameplates.

Mini management says sales are down mainly because of the model changeover for its core vehicle, the two-door Cooper hardtop. The redesigned hardtop, which is larger and shed some of its quirky features, arrived on dealership lots in April. Then dealers suffered a six-week delay of the 2015 Cooper, which arrived in mid-September.

“We knew going into the year that we would be down at least through this point in the year,” said David Duncan, who became vice president of Mini of the Americas in January.

“We are starting to claw back our way a little bit. It will be an uphill battle,” Duncan said. “We will not get back to where we would be even year over year. It should be a lower decrease than it is so far.”

But dealers and analysts say the cold stretch should be a wake-up call. They say Mini needs to bring its marketing and its vehicles closer to the mainstream if it wants to continue to grow toward annual U.S. sales of 100,000 vehicles by 2020, which executives once forecast.

True? Do you think MINI needs to make more mainstream models to better cater to the buying public? Or do you think that would be going against what makes the brand special? Sound off in the comments below.

  • Captain

    Given all of the delays, restated MPGs, etc. some serious headwinds in 2014, my expectation is that the year may be a head fake in sales vs. an actual trend.

    My hope is that any subsequent rebound in 2015 does not take the impetus away from getting serious with a return to roots Rocketman.

    Despite all of the fuss on the aesthetics of the new hardtop, I do believe the new Clubman will sell better than the previous entry by 2x or more, diesel is coming and a finally a JCW with some punch (and superior brakes).

    If they MINI can execute more deftly on those commitments, 2015 and 2016 could be the best years yet.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see the new Clubby do Countryman level sales since it will be taking the Countryman’s place in the lineup as the Countryman grows into uncharted territory.

  • fishbert

    [Dealers and analysts] say Mini needs to bring its marketing and its vehicles closer to the mainstream…

    Ok, I’ve got my torch… where’d I leave that pitchfork?

    • Kev50027

      I guess “not normal” really means “normal.”

      • fishbert

        The “not” is silent.

  • Don Compton

    I just purchased a’15 MCS auto that I ordered with what I wanted. I think that the EPA delay has a lot to do with these sales figures. Also, my mpg experience mirrors the original ’14 EPA figures.

  • Jay

    If your most popular car is not available to buy, I don’t see how you could possibly do well in sales. It has nothing to do with marketing or not being mainstream.

    • “It has nothing to do with marketing or not being mainstream.”

      Problem is, dealers around the country had – and may still do – ample stock of the 2014 F56 prior to the EPA’s 2015 embargo.

      It’s more reasonable to assume MINI’s situation is the result of a confluence of factors. Delays and availability are contributing factors, of course, but it’s wrong to suggest that MINI’s marketing and its interesting relationship with customer surveys and journalist’s opinion are exempt here.

  • All of the dealers in the Greater Toronto Area are sold out of thier current 2015’s and are stuck taking bespoke orders only that won’t be ready until March while they wait for a special allotment of new inventory to close out the year. From all appearances, the F56 is killing it in Canada now that they are actually available.

    • “All of the dealers in the Greater Toronto Area are sold out of thier current 2015”

      You know many of the dealers you’re referring to have their inventories listed online, right? MINI London lists 17 2015 HTs available. MINI Vaughan West lists 24 2015 HTs available. They also have a little 2014 inventory.

      • Just checked in with my MINI Canada contacts and this is the special allotment I mentioned in my post that will close them out for 2014. MINI Canada wasn’t originally supposed to receive these cars, but they wouldn’t comment on which country they were originally destined for.

  • Jason

    “Do you think MINI needs to make more mainstream models to better cater to the buying public?”

    Isn’t that exactly what they’re doing with the F56? It feels way more mainstream than prior generations.

    • GoRixter

      Thats exactly what CR (and others are saying)

      • dpcompt

        these guys have too much time on their hands

  • benibiker

    I think this most recent redesign finally went too far. I’m looking for a new mini right now but it won’t be a F56, it’ll be a R56. The new F56 drives nothing like the older Minis. It’s good for new never having owned Mini buyers but old Mini drivers will raise their nose at it.