Dec 22nd, 2014
When I am not recording White Roof Radio or writing posts for MotoringFile, I work for a healthcare technology company doing product management, business development and commercial operations consulting. As such, some of my time is dedicated to helping our clients build and optimize their sales and marketing operations. To be frank, it is not always as challenging as I would like it to be, but for the past two months I have helped launch a major biotech blockbuster, and it was amazing. While it is not my first launch, it gave me a completely new appreciation for the difficulty of the undertaking given the financial and legal ramifications. Although the resources dedicated to launching a car versus a drug cannot be compared, I’m fairly certain the complexity of the task is similar across both industries.
Unless you live under a rock, you should know that MINI launched a new generation of cars with the release of the F56 Hardtop a year ago. There is a lot at stake for this new breed of MINIs with promises of unprecedented economies of scale, higher profit margins and increased sales volumes. However, the past 12 months have been tricky for the first FXX car, especially in the US. And while many so-called analysts along with some of our dedicated readers are quick to announce MINI’s impending doom, my view on the matter is quite different. Could MINI and MINI USA have done a better job at launching the F56? I believe so. Is our favorite brand on the brink of extinction? Not even remotely. But let’s step back and look at what happened since the end of 2013. continued →
Dec 8th, 2014
There’s a saying in French: “Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas”. It basically means that it is pointless to argue about taste and colors. While I mostly disagree with this proverb, I can’t refute the facts from PPG Industries Annual Automotive Color Popularity Data. PPG is a leading manufacturer of transportation coatings, and the outcome of their annual study shows globally that white continues to be the most popular car color, followed by black (18%) and silver/gray (13%).
Dec 3rd, 2014
MotoringFile recently wrote about MINI USA’s push to improve service, marketing and dealer profits under VP David Duncan and perhaps some of that strategic vision is coming to fruition as reported by Automotive News. Anyone who has stepped foot into a MINI dealership knows the MINI retail experience is unique among mass-market automotive brands. However even after receiving accolades such as topping the J.D. Power’s US Sales Satisfaction Index Study there is still room for improvement, especially for a car manufacturer regularly described as a “premium” brand. Click through to read more. continued →
Oct 7th, 2014
By next summer three of MINI’s then eight models will have four doors. And if the Countryman’s success is anything to go by, its this segment that will be critical to the brand’s success in the years ahead. And there in lies the problem. The brand was built on unconventional. A finger in the air aimed at authority, the brand has been built on thinking differently and making less do more. And yet MINI is becoming quite established with utility vehicles, all wheel drive and an increasing size across every product. We applaud the success of the brand and understand the importance of financial viability, but there is something missing in all of this. You know it, we know it and by some accounts MINI knows it as well. It’s called the Rocketman. And we at MotoringFile want it built.
Aug 25th, 2014
Photo Credit: Eileen Dugan
Preston Thomas Tucker. Most people know him as the car manufacturer Jeff Bridges portrayed in the critically acclaimed film Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Others know him as one of those formidable entrepreneurs that only the United State seems to have the recipe for. Following the end of World War II, Tucker strongly believed the US car market was ripe for disruption and that unprecedented car designs would bring people back into the dealerships. With that in mind, he started the Tucker Corporation with the ambition of building the car of tomorrow. Even though it would never fully reached production status it would be revolutionary in its form and function by boasting a fuel-injected engine, disc brakes, side impact protections and adaptive headlights. While one can argue about the relative success of Mr. Tucker’s venture, he was, by any measure, a visionary; he saw the future and acted to change the world regardless of the obstacles he faced. Though we must remain objective in evaluating what the Tucker Corporation achieved and what MINI is doing today, our favorite car brand had to overcome serious challenges to remain the undisputed contender in the premium small-car category. After a 5,142 miles MTTS rally, not only has our F56 surpassed these challenges, but moreover MINI might have a serious sales hit on their hands, especially with the soon-to-be-released F55. continued →
Jul 14th, 2014
Editors note: As part of the MotoringTern program MotoringFile has added two new authors to our roster. This piece is from one of those authors – Kurt Heiden. And as part of our desire to remain faithful to all sides of the MINI we also want to broaden the voice of the site and tell more varied stories that offer differing opinions. Having two new writers on the site will give us those different viewpoints that we’ve always strived for but haven’t always had the time to fulfill. Join us in welcoming Kurt and feel free to respectfully give your take in the comments below. And remember, this opinion doesn’t necessary reflect what all of us at MF believe. Or does it?
Anytime one tries to pick the best from a group of phenomenal choices it’s bound to ruffle some feathers, so apologies up front to those who disagree. That said if you like opinions (and don’t mind respectfully disagreeing), read on…
Jul 4th, 2014
MINI USA’s sales are off pace by over 25% for the year and 18% for the month of June. However if you look at the figures the problem isn’t as simple as it might seem. continued →