Dec 10th, 2013
Must watch. This is a must watch for anyone with a pulse and even a remote interest in motorsports. And be sure to check MF after the first of the year where will be bringing you daily updates on the 2014 Dakar where the team will be going for three wins in a row.
Video after the break.
Dec 10th, 2013
If there’s one thing offered on MINI’s abroad that’s been coveted by US MINI enthusiasts, it’s diesel power train. With the debut of the F56, many US MINI fans are waiting with bated breath to hear official news of the much-teased Cooper SD power plant making its way to our shores. We haven’t received that confirmation yet, but we do know that MINI USA is trying to make the case. If the numbers line up, we’ll see possibly the Cooper D or Cooper SD become available in the US MINI lineup.
Dec 9th, 2013
Given the launch of the new MINI and the recent pre-production shell that popped up on eBay, we’ve been digging into our archives a bit and thinking about how the modern MINI came about. Over the past ten years MotoringFile has written much about Mini, Rover and BMW in the 1990s but it’s such a good story it’s always worth a revisit. So with that in mind we wanted to go back and take look at the concepts from that time period that help guide us to the R50 which set the tone for all modern MINI’s to come.
The idea of a modern MINI had been floating around since the late 60’s. But the Mini’s appeal and subsequent sales success kept it in production for two decades longer than originally anticipated. However the various government backed companies that manufactured the Mini through the years were less than successful on the business side of things. In fact British Leyland, Rover, etc tried to kill the Mini more than once (first to avoid converting the engine to run on unleaded, then to avoid increasing safety requirements) but English public opinion was too negative. So when BMW bought Rover and the Mini there was quite a bit of hope for the future. continued →
Dec 7th, 2013
Frank Stephenson, exterior designer of the R50 and R53 MINI was interviewed earlier this year on the occasion of his latest creation debuting – the McLaren P1. Frank, a long time reader and friend of MF created the R50 during a time of intense turmoil and competition amongst BMW and Rover designers and engineers. The resulting car is often looked at as the most pure of not best looking modern MINI to date. Even if a lack of pedestrian safety standards certainly gave the design team much more freedom, it’s hard to argue the R50 isn’t design success.
It’s with that success that Frank moved onto Ferrari and Fiat where he oversaw everything from the F430 Scuderia to the Fiat 500 to the Maserati MC12. From there Frank moved north and to McLaren where he cleaned up an already in progress MC12 and designed the already mythical P1. So to say he has some credibility around MotoringFile and the general automotive world is an understatement. And that begs the question, what are his thoughts on the modern state of MINI design? Yahoo Automotive’s Jamie Kitman caught up with Frank earlier this year and talked specifically about that amongst other automotive topics. Keep in mind that this interview happened earlier this year and thus doesn’t include reactions to the new F56. However the full interview is well worth a read but the MINI specifics portions (which you can see after the break) are particularly interesting.
To say Frank dislikes the R5X MINI range would be an understatement. We can’t say we agree with him but it’s easy to understand his perspective. While he didn’t have to deal with the raft of new crash standards with his R50, he is clearly qualified to have an opinion.
Check it out after the break. continued →
Dec 5th, 2013
Sales are down across the board with one interesting exception. The Paceman has finally found buyers. 631 in November – almost double that of the Clubman. And what of the Roadster and Coupe? They’re fallen off a cliff. Not surprising considering the time of the year but it’s somewhat shocking to see the most exciting car in the line-up – the Roadster – selling under 100 united in a month. Full sales figures after the break.
Official release: MINI USA reported sales of 4,575 automobiles, a decrease of 12.8 percent from the 5,248 sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, MINI sales in the U.S. are up 0.4 percent on volume of 59,910 compared to 59,667 in the first eleven months of 2012. continued →
Dec 5th, 2013
Here’s a quick reminder to enter MINI’s Final Test Test Drive Contest. What’s the Final Final Test Drive? Traditionally car companies hand the car to the media. The media dissects the car and tells the consumer what to think. MINI wants to turn that on its ear and allow owners to get the firs crack at the new MINI and report on it themselves. The idea is simple – tell MINI USA why you deserve to test the new MINI before anyone else and how you’d do it. For instance if you think high speed reverse J-turns would be something worth testing, go for it. Want to test luggage capacity with cheerleaders? MINI will oblige. continued →
Dec 3rd, 2013
The minute that MINI employees learned last week that their beloved leader, Jim McDowell was retiring we started receiving a flood of emails. MINI employees love Jim and hearing that their leader was finally leaving the brand created an outpouring of emotion in more than a few. Nevertheless we wanted to hold-off reporting the news until we had the full picture and more specifically who was replacing him. But before we get to that and the official press release, let’s take a moment to tip our hat to Mr McDowell.
Jim is a man that stepped into MINI from the corporate culture of BMW and never looked back. Always dressed in black, full of laughs and naturally never seen with a tie, Jim lead the brand by living the brand and its ethos. He not only cared about the success of MINI but genuinely cared about the owners of the cars and the community that was built up around them.
On a more personal level Jim will be greatly missed by MotoringFile. He saw the power of the community early on and more specifically saw that MotoringFile was more than just a fan site but something much more important to MINI and the community. With his leadership MINI USA embraced MotoringFile and the community in a way that few automakers have ever dared to do.
Jim, best of luck in your next adventure and thanks for the ride.
Official Release: Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI of the Americas will retire as of December 31, 2013. Since 2005, Jim has been responsible for all aspects of MINI Marketing, Sales and Aftersales in the United States. Previously, McDowell was Vice President – Marketing for BMW of North America, LLC, a position he held for twelve years. continued →