MINI USA April Sales in Context

You’ve seen the numbers and MINI USA April Sales don’t look good. The whole US light vehicle picture has taken a turn for the worse, dropping 4.7%. Even the light truck segment has dropped by 0.1%, the first monthly year-over-year drop since Sept. 2013. Incentives are up, inventory is up with 10 brands holding more than 90 days worth of sales on lots, well above the so-called optimum of 60 days supply. Oddly, MINI inventory on the April 1st was only 48 days supply, down from over 90 on March 1st. It’s hard to know exactly why, as the supply numbers we can find don’t break down by model, only by brand.

Matt’s MINI Index contains no good news for MINI either. MINI is at the bottom of the chart, down 27.4% compared to the index drop of just 1.4%. One interesting note is that MINI of Stevens Creek (a dealer on the SF Peninsula) has no Clubmans at all, but MINI of SF has 23. Countrymans are plentiful at both dealerships as well. Overall, a very bad month.

  • Nick Dawson


    2010: 45,644 2011: 57,511 (First full year of Countryman sales) 2012: 66,123 2013: 66,502 2014: 56,112 2015: 58,514 2016: 52,030 2017: 13,732 YTD


    Countryman – 3,627 Hardtop 2dr – 3,451 Clubman —- 2,450 Hardtop 4dr – 2,445 Convertible — 1,751 Paceman —- 0008

    • Nick…. After about 1.5 months of my new CM SAll4 8 speed auto & just under 2K miles, it’s shown nothing but great comfort, better than expected MPG, and better than expected handling for such as ‘large’ MINI, even in the tight winding mountain roads of North Carolina during the annual MINiS on the Dragon activities.

      Got to meet 2 other owners of the new CM also both S model, at a driving excursion today. Both really liked their new CM. One previously owned a 1st Gen CM, & found this 2nd Gen a much better ride along with other many positives. Have managed 35MPG US Hwy so far….not too shabby for a 3600+lb SUV type doing 75-80 MPH. Of course I was in green mode to get that mileage.

      Hope your time in SE Asia is fine as our time now at our little cabin in the NC mountains is quite good!!!

      • Nick Dawson

        Hi Bob – Thank you for your feedback. I am not at all surprised to hear how happy you are with your new Countryman. As a matter of interest, how do you rate it overall compared to your previous F55 regarding performance, handling and noise levels, in view of it’s extra bulk and weight?

        Having a winter second home near to the equator, where the weather is perpetually summer, returning to the UK is always going to be a shock to the system, but in early April in the south of England, we enjoyed some unusually high spring temperatures, so our return to the northern hemisphere wasn’t too much of a shock this time!

        • Hey Nick…there are very different views I have when comparing my new CM with my former F55. Obviously, the F55S is quicker with 600 lbs less weight to haul around. Yet, the F60S was still satisfactory in that category. I think the official figures might put the F55S about .5 secs quicker to 60 MPH than the F60S. But in my own brief comparison re handling, I really think it might be a closer match, although the F55S would still win.

          As for noise level, the Countryman was on top…really smooth riding and quieter with its much longer wheel base. However, the F55S with my replacement long lasting Bridgestone Driveguard runflats were also quite quiet & smooth. The CM was furnished with Pirelli Centurato P7 all season tires which were very quiet for run-flats as well as great in the tight local winding roads while driving aggressively on wet roads. Was able to keep up with the smaller R56S/F56s leaders in our excursion group in the curves. Conditions were wet with on/off rains, so perhaps it also slowed them down a bit.

          I did not expect the F60S to have the performance or handling of the F55S with its added bulk & weight but, for what it’s meant to be…a larger smoother CM compared to the 1st Gen CM with many upgrades re quality, features, space, etc. I personally think it’s a winner that will see very good sales that may be among the best within the MINI brand.

          So you’re back in the UK for the warmer months? Since we’ve left Florida which has has a winter/spring with much above temps into the low 90’s lately, coming up to the NC mountains this past week has been a great relief…..rains with temps down into the 50’s/60’s for highs. But I’ll still be back & forth from Fl every few weeks thru the summer, will put the miles quickly on the new CM.

        • Nick Dawson

          Bob – thank you for your helpful review on your first 2k miles in your new Countryman S All4, comparing it to your previous F55S. Having lived with your F55S on a day to day basis for two and a half years, you are ideally placed to give a meaningful opinion, and very helpful it was too. A big thank you for that. Enjoy putting more miles on the clock during your regular trips to NC this summer 🙂

        • Nick….over the 4 days during the recent MINIS on the Dragon events as well as out side of those activities, I’ve had a number of people come up to me at parking lots, gas stations, etc. asking what color was my Countryman. That Chestnut seems to be among the more attractive looks on the CM. I know it was for my wife & me. I view it as a darker version of the Spicy Orange that was on my ’12 JCW Coupe.

          Late this week, I’ll head back to Florida for a week with minimal extra weight in the CM. So will be interesting to see what kind of mileage I get compared to my trip up to NC over a week ago with a loaded boot & back seat.

    • Nick….just to add that I’m Bob Lavoie, my alias is Grayghost per my comments about my new CM.

    • Nick, your data is telling. From the peak of MINI sales in 2013 until last year, US light vehicle sales were growing! But not for MINI. For three years, total sales in the US kept increasing, and MINI shrank by about 20% from it’s peak. Product mix, marketing, competition, whatever, MINI was doing something very wrong compared to the rest of the marketplace.

      Here’s an interesting example: I go to a media driving event each spring (in late April to early May). This year was the first time in many years that MINI was present! This makes me hopeful that MINI is trying to do better marketing. But while sales were declining, MINI wasn’t taking advantage of all the opportunities to get product out to those that might write about it!

      I drove both the new CM S All4 auto and the JCW Clubman auto. Both are much more refined and smooth drivers. I think they will do pretty well. But they are expensive for what they are and do. It’s going to be hard for them to do so well as to get back to 2013 sales levels, even though they both will appeal to a much larger part of the buying market.

      I hope for the best for MINI, but there’s no denying they are in a tough spot here in the US.

      • Here’s a theory. What if this some of this was by design? MINI needed to increase it’s PPV (profit per vehicle) from the first two generations. The UKL based MINIs have much more obvious refinement and (dare I say it) premium qualities. Increasing MSRPs theoretically makes sense when you look at these cars compared to what came before them. In other words 2013-2016 was a great opportunity for MINI to make this change.

        What if MINI leveraged this and took a calculated risk to raised prices and increase PPV. In doing so they would have likely known that that overall sales would be 15%-20% lower than they were with the R5X generation and would have factored that potential outcome into their plan.

        If this is the case, essentially MINI has limited its need to sell more cars at lower pricing which in turn protects residuals (which affects profits in many ways) and has the added benefit of helping the overall brand.

        • It’s possible, but not very likely. I can’t think of a single time where a car company has become more successful by selling less cars. Another way to look at it might be giving up less profitable sales while growing in the rest of the world, which MINI has surely done. But then the cost per car of the US operations, passing NHTSA certification and the like, all goes up in dollars per unit sold. Also, it’s less units per dealership, and that’s hard on your sales channels. Not a great strategy. Also, MINIs message to the marketplace has been confused at best, close to incoherent at worst. (we’re going to settle on five superhero models, uh, no, we can’t figure out what the fifth model will be…. For years!)

          From where I sit, the mix of what MINI offered and the realities of the US market, that are somewhat unique world wide, made growing in the US a very tough row to hoe.

          But until we get privy to the happenings in New Jersey and back in Europe, we’ll never know for sure.

        • I’m not saying this happening and I’m not saying they expected to necessarily sell 20% less (if this anywhere near to being true)… but I can think of plenty of scenarios in consumer products where this decision has been made and been successful. Car makers are in a constant struggle to increase PPV.

        • Nick Dawson

          I suspect that for many potential MINI USA customers, charging $500 extra for paint was the last straw.

        • Nick Dawson

          BTW, here in the UK solid white paint on a Countryman is a £550 option, and at the current exchange rate that equates to $700.

  • Nick Dawson

    Throughout 2016, the Countryman was consistently the best selling MINI in the US, and that trend has continued through 2017 YTD.

    However, if we group MINI USA sales in the order of the four “Superhero” models, a different but nonetheless interesting picture emerges.


    Hardtop 2/4dr – 5,896 = 42.94% Countryman — 3,627 = 26.41% Clubman —— 2,450 = 17.84% Convertible —- 1,751 = 12.75%


    Some of it has to do with price vs competition. At the end of the day the coopers are $$$$ compared to the competition.

  • Aurel

    To put things in a bit of perspective pricing comparison wise. I was in the MINI family from 2004 – 2013 … got a T5 XC90 Volvo recently for $43.5 (msrp of $50K) … a similarly loaded JCW Countryman is $47.4 MSRP. Different cars, for sure, but come on