MINI USA to Simplify Ordering and Lower Costs for 2019 MINIs

With lower costs and simplifying order in mind, MINI USA is making big changes to the way it offers its cars. The company has focused on simplifying the order process and increasing value without limiting the ultimate number a choices a customer has. But can they do this without making MINI feel like any other car company? We sat down with MINI USA’s product team to get some answers.

lower costs

MINI USA’s 2018 list of packages. A bit mind boggling.

It’s no secret that MINI USA’s sales have slipped over the past four years. While there have been a number of reasons driving this (low fuel prices being one of the major factors), MINI USA needed to respond. First they’ve done that with product, releasing an all new Countryman which has gone on to became the best selling MINI in the US market. For 2019 they’re addressing another issue in the marketplace – pricing and more specifically value for money.

In short MINI USA streamlined packages by creating three tiers that better group options with how customers order MINIs. This change has allowed MINI USA to offer moderate and well equipped cars at lower costs – as much as $3,000 lower depending on configuration.

The Details: Lower Costs with Data

MINI started this entire process by talking to dealers, sales people, customers and people who looked at MINIs that didn’t actually buy. The data pointed to a few things:

  • Dealers were often ordering one of a kind cars that didn’t end up selling easily
  • Potential buyers loved the idea of making a MINI their own but felt the configuration process was confusing and took too long
  • Residuals on MINIs we’re talking a hit because one of a kind cars were driving values lower – bad for MINI and for owners
  • There was a group of almost identical options people tended to order in the mid and higher dollar levels
  • Potential buyers who didn’t buy were looking or more options at lower costs

MINI USA quickly realized that they could take this data and group options commonly ordered together to drive value. Out of this they create three tiers that acted as a baseline for owners to order their MINIs. These three tiers eliminated packages like sport and the JCW exterior package and have created option groups based on how most customers order. By doing this, prices will be less on most MINIs, especially those with moderate to high option levels.

The final list of options and pricing will be announced by MINI USA in the coming weeks. But in the mean time we’re bringing you an exclusive preview of this new strategy and how it breaks down in terms of ordering MINIs in the future.

To simplify this we’re going to look at how this new approach would apply to a MINI Cooper Hatch (F56) and we’re going to refer to the three tiers simply by numbers – 1 being base, 2 being mid and 3 being fairly loaded. The final names will be announced in the coming weeks.

Tier 1

The base prices are changing across the board. The price of a base Cooper has actually gone up $300 in the Cooper while cars like the Countryman will go down $300-$500 depending on configuration.

Tier 1 will come with the following standards:

  • Four colors only
  • Manual transmission standard
  • 4G connectivity (emergency calls and teleservices)

Unlike the other 2 and 3, Tier 1 will have very limited options:

  • Roof rails
  • Heated seats
  • Automatic transmission (unlike the tiers 2 and 3 this will not be free)

You cannot get contrasting roof, navigation or even leather with these cars. But as you see with the low price of Tier 2, anyone wanting those options will want to move up to that next level. The base price will actually go up $300 for the standard Cooper to $21,900. But that’s pretty much where the price increases.

Tier 2

Tier 2 will be immensely popular given what you get for the pricing. MINI USA has aggressively targeted this price point by including all the following option for $24,900

  • Any paint color
  • Sunroof
  • Sport seats
  • Automatic or Manual
  • Any 16” wheel
  • White turn signals
  • Heated seats
  • Comfort access
  • 4G connectivity (emergency calls and teleservices)

This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with these options mind you. You can upgrade the interior by choosing a premium interior package (which includes leather, trim and a premium steering wheel) and other options and packages can be added depending on the type of MINI you want. But there’s less a la carte options available than before. The idea is that, if you want a more equipped MINI, you’ll go for Tier 3 rather than option up a Tier 2.

Tier 3

The top tier will include all options including things like the Technology package (wide-screen Navigation etc) but not the Drive Assistance Package (which includes PDC, HUD, self parking and adaptive cruise for $1250).

The results of this pricing change is that a fully loaded 2019 Countryman has been reduced in cost to roughly what a well equipped 2018 Countryman was. The difference with the 2019 F57 Convertible is even more stark. Loaded the 2019 MCS Convertible is now about $3000 less than it was in 2018.

Has anything been removed?

Unfortunately we have to report that MINI USA (once again) has eliminated rear fog lights from the US market. Despite it being a extremely helpful safety feature in some parts of the country, the take rate was apparently just too low justify keeping it on the books for 2019.

Also gone is the JCW exterior package. While other markets are keeping the package, MINI USA wants to increase the visual space between the Cooper S and the JCW.

Has MINI USA Reduced Choice?

In a word yes. But in reality not really. The choice previously was almost mathematically limitless. Now there are just 100 million different ways to order your new MINI. Compare that to say, a Honda Accord which has a total of 85 different ways to spec and it would seem MINI is staying true to its customization roots.

When is the Configurator Launching? will have the all new Configurator live early this spring. Look for full pricing information on MotoringFile between now and then that will fill in some of the details left out here.

  • minicooperracer

    The only model not offered in JCW is the 4 door hard top which looks so much better with JCW exterior, looks like that will be the only model without a JCW option then.

  • Sam Curtis III

    Where in th he hell is the heated steering wheel? Package it with the heated seats! Problem solved…

  • Evan Custer

    Looks like they’ve merged the JCW exterior and interior packages into just one JCW Package, at least on the 4-door. The build my MA provided me has it listed as a $2K package that includes the 17″ Black Spoke Wheels, JCW Steering Wheel, Rear Spoiler, JCW Aero Kit and Anthracite Headliner. I’ve been told the anthracite headliner is available as a stand-alone option now though.

  • TheMotoringAdvisor

    This is a heated debate in our region at the moment. With the new changes the majority of our customers are now being forced into the top tier. And by forced I mean; they’re now looking elsewhere for their next vehicle. Want a low equipped MINI with signature contrasting roof and leather seats? Not gonna happen. The writing has been on the walls: trade-in values have been dropping for years, and now, with less attractive lease rates in the last few months, you can see MINI doesn’t want their (clients) creations back on the lot. It’s even gone around that they’re working on getting residuals back up and into a more attractive price point…IN A FEW YEARS!!! Every PHEV Countryman we’ve built for inventory is easily 5-10k more than the 2018 models because of the new restrictions. We’re attempting to drink the Kool-Aid, but the proof is the showroom traffic, incoming orders that now are met by sticker shock, and the sad reality that MINI is now trying to copy the same formula of other brands like Audi.

    And the configurator is going live in April from what MINI USA has told us at the dealer level.

  • Christopher Johnson

    Totally disappointed that the rear fog is gone. IMO this is 100% the fault of dealers who never spec’d a car with it and would full court press a customer to take a dealer inventory car rather than wait for a custom order with rear fog (saw it happen while I was looking at new cars).

    Also, I think dealers are partially to blame for the sales decline as well. Every time I have gone looking, they never had a car on the lot that was appealing to me so I always assumed my next new MINI would be a custom order. Of course waiting 8 weeks is a turn off for many “typical American” car buyers since they are usually there to buy a car that day or week.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this plays out as I’ve always loved that I could spec a MINI exactly how I wanted even that was a base MINI with a lux interior, manual, and a REAR FOG Light!

  • AnthLC

    I think a great idea and should be extended to other markets. I brought my mini in Australia and I found the mini configurator confusing and not useful in getting the best options compared to cost and value. It took me a few times before I did purchase a mini. One of the reasons I delayed was I couldn’t see the value when I added all the options I wanted. The packs were confusing too. Mini is known for giving owners a lot of choices. But certain options should just be a choice without any cost associated. So that people still get to choose their mini without it hitting their hip pocket everytime. While throwing in more expensive options with the high tiers to tempt people or as separate packs. I think US mini is on a winner. I ended up buying a demo.

  • ulrichd

    Looks like they are following the business model of the TV cable companies.

  • AnthLC

    What US mini has done doesn’t prevent configuring a mini just the way you like. Other then missing rear fog lights which if you live in rural area I agree are a necessity.

    It simplifies, has a tier system for the most commonly configured options most people will select while reducing cost. It is a winner.

    The mini configurator is a joke, it probably turns more people off buying a mini. You could end up selecting a pack or option multiple times or inefficiently when it came to cost. You could miss picking a option you wanted because what actually in every pack or option is unclear.

    The way it should work is you select what you want and then it configure the best package automatically for you on cost.

    Hopefully this will mean US dealers will have stock on hand. I hate the way car manufacturers don’t have stock on hand and expect you to order and wait weeks for your car to be built and delivered. I am firmly in the camp of walk in walk out with a car same day.

    Configuring a mini should have a few options with no cost so people feel they are selecting a individual mini, without it hitting your wallet everytime. Leaving big ticket items in a higher tier or separate add ons. For me was a big turnoff everytime I selected a option the casher register would ring. I can afford but need to justify if worth the cost often I couldn’t.

    I feel this will lift sales in the US because it is fixing the problems most people who are attracted to buying a mini find when they walk into a mini dealership it is all to confusing and nothing on dealer floor they like. They have to order a custom build and wait.

    It may upset certain people who are pro custom configurator to the n-degree. But the average mini buyer will appreciate this change. I suggest Mini UK, Mini Australia do the same thing they will sell more mini’s

    • R.O.

      “You could end up selecting a pack or option multiple times or inefficiently when it came to cost. You could miss picking a option you wanted because what actually in every pack or option is unclear.”

      That’s a poor webdesign/Configurator issue. Besides, if MINI is trying to target young buyers – they are way more tech savy & know how to use the internet.

      Why should I have to get a car with something I absolutely don’t want? For me that’s a Sunroof. And why limit Tier 1 to only four paint colors choices? Chances are 3 of them will be the least choose ones – why so people with have to upgrade to Tier 2 at a minimum.

      “I hate the way car manufacturers don’t have stock on hand and expect you to order and wait weeks for your car to be built and delivered. I am firmly in the camp of walk in walk out with a car same day.” —

      Everyone is different & can understand some people who don’t want to wait and prefer to drive off the lot with a MINI today, but others don’t.

      I’m one who doesn’t mind the wait. If the dealer had a MINI configured to my taste and it’s have items on it that I don’t want – then I’d buy it. The problem is, dealers spec to their “own” tastes and leave off things that people want or only add them on the much higher $$$ MINI’s.

      As I said – I hate sunroofs and I found that only on the lower end spec cars didn’t come with a Sunroof – the problem – the car also didn’t come with items I absolutely wanted. MINI has continually promoted themselves with the tag line that no two MINI’s are alike. With this new Tier system – a lot more will be alike and not to an individuals taste.

      • AnthLC

        I agree there is a balancing act you don’t want Mini to swing the pendulum to far and customers are penalised by wanting to customise.

        My previous car I wanted some things on the lower model but options on the top tier. But I couldn’t. I hope Mini don’t lock people in or penalise people if they decide to drop something.

        Bring back the rear fog lights as an option to, please.

        I live in the country and drive up to the office once a month. The rear fog logs are good for other drivers to see you. But they also good for your peripheral vision as they light up the rear so your brain has a better spatial awareness of where the car is on the road.

        I find they help a lot.


    I’ll reserve judgement until I have a chance to use the revised configurator with the tier system, but my initial reaction is total disappointment. I understand the business case, and I do understand a lot of Americans want to see dealer stock and buy that day, HOWEVER I have always felt one of the great selling points of MINI as a brand was the customization factor. I always felt that MINI marketing never pushed this aspect as a unique brand identifier, especially among younger people who are always seeking to be “unique”. One of the primary reasons I bought my MINI as opposed to a GTI, or WRX was the ability to spec the car as I wanted it. I like a lux interior, but not all the electronic gadgetry. I’m not sure if that will be possible anymore–which is the case with all other brands–very few choices. This just seems like another move to satiate the broad market and alienate the MINI enthusiast crowd—I hope I’m wrong.

  • R.O.

    Regarding gas prices – they have been going up so far this year. In some States more than in others – some approaching $4 per/gal.

    “MINI USA streamlined packages by creating three tiers that better group options with how customers order MINIs.” The thing is some (% unknown) customers will end up having to get things they don’t want at all, which if that’s the only choice, they may not buy a MINI.

    In Tier 1 – only 4 paint colors & if it’s a color a person doesn’t like/want, then they’d have to go to Tier 2 or 3.

    Tier 2 & 3 as standard comes with Sunroof and Comfort Access. I hate Sunroofs! (I can’t emphasize the word “hate” enough regarding sunroofs – lol). Especially panoramic type & on top of that the lousy inside shade cover that comes in the MINI is even worse. Comfort Access – don’t want that either.

    So, if Tier 1 doesn’t have the color I want, now have to go to next Tier(s) and get stuck with a Sunroof & other stuff I don’t want – & pay more.

    What happens if someone doesn’t want Sport Seats? Can non sports seats be subbed? There are some that don’t like the fit of the sports seats.

    Yes this is how other car makers do it – but that was the whole point with MINI – fully customize (with some minor limits). I also noticed that in Tier 1 LED aren’t part of it (or not shown). LED’s should be standard on all tiers.

    Maybe this plan will generate more sales in the US – since car buyers are use to trim levels which other car makers do, but maybe people won’t like having to get things and go look for something else.

    I did find that dealers spec’d to their own taste. It was almost impossible to find a MINI on the lot with Visual Boost & no NAV (before boost became standard), the Car Alarm and auto-dim inside mirror (before they lumped in with outside fold & auto-dim mirror). Also the Storage pkg wasn’t spec’d too often either.

    To me this new way (Tiers) take away from the whole “no two MINI’s are alike” concept and Promo from MINI.

    I’m not in the market to replace my ’15 Cooper S but if I ever did – looks like MINI would lose me as a customer – why – I hate Sunroofs (I think I already wrote that – lol) and yes that’s is a a no-go for me.

    I also noticed that “roof rails” will be standard – is that for the Countryman only or will that be for all models including the 3 door Coupe? If yes on the 3 door, another reason I’d say bye-bye to MINI.

    • TheMotoringAdvisor

      R.O. in regards to your concerns – you can build a Tier 2 and negate the sunroof AND sport seats HOWEVER, you will not get a credit for taking these options off. The roof rails are an add-on option for any tier going forward (standard on the Countryman, of course).

      • R.O.

        Thanks for the info M.A. I don’t have an issue with the Sport Seats – just the whole Sunroof thing – lol. Yeah – delete the Sunroof but still have to pay for luxury of not having one – silly. I’ve read others found the current (and past) Configurators confusing – I didn’t. The only problem I encountered when I ordered my ’15 Copper S, i order the Visual boost and voice control was a Zero cost option if you got V.B but because it wasn’t automatically included and I didn’t check it in Config – it wasn’t activated (button did not function). That did annoy me. I blame the MINI MA for not noting that when I went to see him. I talked to MINI USA about that in hopes they could do some kind of software fix or give me credit – unfortunately it was a no go.

  • Mendel Tomas

    Like CA-MINI, I’ll reserve judgement until I get to play with the updated configurator. I understand MINI’s position on all this, but what percentage of buyer’s really custom order versus buy off the lot? I custom ordered my R50 and my F56 because doing so gave me the flexibility to get exactly what I wanted without having to spend more. For example, with a VW GTI, you have to get leather if you want a sunroof; you can’t get cloth seats with a sunroof. With a MINI, I can get the cool JCW interior package cloth seats and have a sunroof (my butt slides around too much on leather; a personal problem). As I see it, the real benefit for the customer may be being able to get a loaded vehicle for a significantly less than previously, and MINI will definitely like that at trade-in time as loaded vehicles sell way better as used cars than weird customer spec’d cars.

  • David

    Motoringfile, are you sure about all of this? I just ordered an LCI F57 two weeks ago, and MINI confirmed to my dealer that PDC, HUD, self parking, and adaptive cruise are no longer available, at least not on the Cooper (i.e., non-‘S’) model any longer. By the way, I think what you’re calling Tier 3 is called the Select trim…or at least that’s what it’s called on the build sheet for my car. Honestly, it’s all very disappointing. We’ll still love the new car, but there are a number of key options we wanted that just aren’t available any longer. It’s quite the bummer.

  • glangford

    Long over due. You pay for ala carte, even if you don’t use much of it, the cost spread around to everybody. One thing I noticed is I’d want to be able to delete sunroof in say tier 2. I might want more than tier 1, but not want a sunroof in tier 2. BMW already does this.

    • Based on my notes from taking with MINI, you can get Teri 2 and delete the sunroof.

  • David Wright

    Mark my words, it will all end in tiers………………………..I’ll get my coat !

  • fishbert

    That “mind boggling” 2018 list of packages is a problem of MINI’s own making. If memory serves, back when I ordered my 2nd-gen Cooper S there were only four packages: Sport, Premium, Cold Weather, and Technology. Anything else was a la carte.

  • kgelner

    I think the idea of simplifying the configurator is good, but I really disagree with none of the base level cars having contrasting roofs. That is a signature of the MINI that look great even if you are not washing as often as you should, so you want as many of those around as possible. Only advanced MINI owners can properly handle non-contrasting roof/body colors to where the whole car looks great…

  • Steven Strain

    Will the fully loaded package ( or whatever they’ll call it) now really mean fully loaded?

  • Just ordered my 19 JCW hardtop. The packages have indeed been reorganized, though dealers seem dumbfounded on pricing and how to put cars together ATM. My dealer was able to brute force my specific build, and we were good to go, but out of 5 local dealers (what a luxury) 3 blew off ordering a factory build until they had a better handle on it.

    Also, volcanic orange is out. Not sure if that was known prior, but it’s known now!

    • I have been waiting to order a 19 JCW in the new orange. I have been waiting for to up their build tool but guess it would be easier to just go into dealer.

    • Eddy Joe

      Can you provide some more insight into your JCW order? I’ve been harassing my dealership but they said they don’t have anything yet with regards to order forms. Can you email me at ejgutierrezmd at gmail dot com? Thanks!

      • I would love to hear more also. I live in an area that has 6 dealers. The dealer by my house has not been able to give my any confirmed info. I went to another dealer this week and got my build price. Looking at a Thunder Gray JCW with Iconic package. Will likely order on Saturday. Trying to figure out what I want to do with my 2015 4 door hardtop. Dealer said that it can take up to 10 weeks for delivery of car.