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Section: Opinion

Chris Harris’s Neo-Manualism

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, Opinion, Video Mar 14th, 2015 23 Comments

wallpaper-2Unlike the U.S., most automobiles in Europe sport a manual gearbox. Historically I’m not sure why this is the case, but it may have something to do with the price of gas and the fact that auto trannies used to be less fuel efficient than manuals. Or perhaps, it’s an item on the option list that European consumers always overlooked because they mostly get bottom-level cars with minimal features. If anyone knows, please enlighten me. continued →

Is the Auto Industry and Car Culture Dying?

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion Mar 6th, 2015 10 Comments

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That’s the opinion of more than a few these days. With millennials and younger generations more interested in technology than transportation, the future of the industry and the very shape of cars is ripe for reinvention. Throw autonomous driving cars into the mix and you have either a utopian or nightmare scenario depending on your view point. That scenario has been described a lot lately, but no more thought provokingly than by Zack Kanter:

Most people – experts included – seem to think that the transition to driverless vehicles will come slowly over the coming few decades, and that large hurdles exist for widespread adoption. I believe that this is significant underestimation. Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced.

What could this mean for MINI? For the automotive industry? The car culture so many of us identify with love? continued →

Silvercar and the End of the Car Rental Nightmare

MotoringFile Sections: Opinion, Technology Feb 27th, 2015 11 Comments

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My work forces me to travel on a regular basis. And because most car service drivers drive like madmen, I always rent a car for my trips between the airport and my clients. Unfortunately, my experience with car services has been far from great. In fact, it’s probably my second worst customer experience after air travel. That was until I discovered Silvercar. continued →

MF Challenge: What Would You Buy for $40,000?

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, JCW, MotoringFile Garage, Opinion Feb 11th, 2015 92 Comments

P0039382 Since we published the Ordering Guide for the 2015 F56 John Cooper Works, there has a been a lot of debate across the MotoringFile and White Roof Radio teams regarding the MSRP of this new car. With a base-price of $30,600, we believe the JCW is actually good value compare to a “JCW-equipped” standard Cooper S. However, when you add a couple of technology and convenience options, the final price tag approaches the $38K-$42K range rather quickly. At this point, anyone contemplating a decently equipped JCW – even the most hardcore MINI fanboys – would probably ask themselves whether or not it is reasonable to spend close to $40K on a MINI. Wouldn’t it make more sense to buy a low mileage certified BMW M3 for instance? So instead of restricting this conversation to our little group, we decided to open the debate to the fine MotoringFile readership. Here is the challenge: With a budget ranging from $38,000 to $42,000, what would you buy instead of a F56 JCW? To answer this question, you will have to comply with two rules:

  • You can choose to spend your budget on a new or a used car (excluding taxes, title, etc.)
  • The car you choose has to become your daily driver

There you have it. Speak your choice in the comments section and tell us why you selected a given car. continued →


Opinion: A Tricky Year for the F56 and MINI USA

MotoringFile Sections: F56 Two-Door Hardtop, Opinion, Sales Dec 22nd, 2014 24 Comments

P90143540_highRes 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 →

White Remains Most Popular Car Color in 2014

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, Opinion Dec 8th, 2014 36 Comments

P90151746-highResThere’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%).

continued →


MINI Dealership Wants Customers Singing Its Praises

MotoringFile Sections: In the Press, MF Feature, Opinion Dec 3rd, 2014 2 Comments

YouTube Capture 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 →

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MINI Model Cheat Sheet

1st Gen MINI
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R55: Clubman
R56: Hatch
R57: Convertible
R58: Coupe
R59: Roadster
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F54: Clubman
F55: Five Door Hatch
F56: Hatch
F57: Convertible
F60: MINI Crossover
F58: Traveller

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Reviews:
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range


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