Worldwide MINI Sales Hit Another Record in September

The difference between worldwide MINI sales and those solely in the US has never been more staggering. While MINI is seeing a decided downward trend in the US, global sales are hitting records month after month. So far this year a total of 271,394 MINIs were delivered to customers, an increase of 2.8%. According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW AG Management Board member for MINI, the Countryman (the hybrid version in particular) is a key driver of that growth.

“The popularity of the first ever MINI plug-in hybrid, which has already been delivered to more than 2,700 customers worldwide since it was introduced in June, is particularly exciting,” he said.

According to the data released by MINI, almost one in ten Countryman sold in September was a MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4.

  • Nick Dawson

    TOTAL ANNUAL MINI SALES – GLOBAL vs USA

    2013: 305,030 vs 66,502 = 21.80% 2014: 302,183 vs 56,112 = 18.57% 2015: 338,466 vs 58,514 = 17.29% 2016: 360,233 vs 52,030 = 14.44%

    2016: 264,007 vs 38,911 = 14.74% (YTD) 2017: 271,394 vs 34,787 = 12.82% (YTD)

    • Nick – By the numbers you listed, an objective onlooker could reasonably discern that something happened in 2014 that caused a downward spiral in sales. In 4 short years, MINI USA appears to be on track to be down 30%-40% from the record year of 2013.

      It’s hard to pin the sales dive on any one factor but many things changed in 2014. 1.) The latest generation (F-series) was introduced to mixed reviews on styling. 2.) The corporate brand identity was changed and with that, marketing shifted – both globally and in the USA away from clever/cheeky/fun towards sophisticated/refined/premium. And 3.) Gas prices were falling to 10 year lows in the USA and have continued that trend four years later. Many people add that MINI also suffered a poor reputation for reliability from 2007-2013 even though the quality improved greatly in 2012-2013.

      I haven’t been shy about my thoughts on the mess MINI finds itself in now. I think the marketing shift in 2014 was an abject failure to attract the kind of customer they perceived to be the “future” of the brand. At the same time of failing to attract a new generation of owners, I, personally, feel that MINI USA abandoned the existing enthusiast base who had made the brand successful for 12 years. Many of my friends and listeners of White Roof Radio have completely left the brand and purchased other cars. I have a running list that is now in the dozens, which I understand is a small sample, but I believe to be representative of the U.S. market as a whole, who’ve moved on to VW, Mazda, Ford et. al. with a common complaint that MINI just isn’t “fun” anymore (their words, not mine).

      I believe MINI is still a great car and I put my money where my mouth is by driving a 2016 JCW. I’ve owned 7 MINIs so far and they really do continue to get better and better but I also understand others’ frustrations. Time will tell if new marketing will help the U.S. out of the hole that’s been dug. I believe that’s what has to happen because it’s still a great and fun car but people just don’t know it anymore.

      • Nick Dawson

        Todd – Thank you for sharing your thoughts – all the points you make are perfectly valid. I would, however, like to add two more.

        1. What so many early MINI fans tend to overlook, is that the R50/R53 made no worthwhile profit for BMW. Profit is the lifeblood of any company, and without it the company will die. Despite that, the BMW board was persuaded to sign-off the second generation R56, which certainly boosted US sales in its first full year 2007, and again in 2008. Regrettably the global economic downturn intervened in 2009/10, but the launch of the R60 Countryman was indisputably a real game changer from 2011 onwards, both in the US and worldwide, culminating in record sales for MINI USA in 2013.

        2. Ironically, moving the third generation MINI upmarket has been a massive success globally – especially in Asia – but an abject failure in the US. In 2008, almost one in every four MINIs sold globally was sold in the US. 2017 is on course to drop to almost one in every eight. However, if we examine BMW’s annual profit and loss accounts, the F-series MINI has been a huge success. Outside of the US, the “MINI BMW” is now a very desirable commodity. With BMW in talks with Great Wall Motor to build MINIs in China – with its burgeoning high earning middle class – global MINI sales will surely continue their upward trajectory.

        • We’ve debated this before. Looking at historical data it’s easy to see the major culprit lies in low US gas prices. The sales decline neatly aligns with the price decline. For decades the price of gas has been directly tied to small car sales in the US. This combined with increase competition in the small premium US market (which literally didn’t exist ten years ago outside of MINI) are the driving factors.

    • Greg

      I’m glad to see the MINI Countryman E be that much of a success, maybe that’ll show them how much a MINI Rocketman E would be popular.

      BTW that’s how you name a car, Make Model Trim. Not Make SortaModelSlashTrim StillTrim AnotherTrim Model KindaOptionSlashTrim, not MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4!