Looks like Autoweek has decided to do a follow-up story to a small article published last fall:

Hundreds of Mini owners in the United States are seeing red over a safety device for their cars that BMW Group won't turn on. The item? Rear fog lights.

BMW won't make the lights available to U.S. Mini customers, even as a dealer-installed option, though the lights are standard equipment on cars sold in Europe and most of the equipment already is installed in U.S. market Minis.

As of last week, 626 Mini owners had signed an Internet petition at petitiononline.com/MINI fogs/petition requesting that BMW enable the rear fog lights to be activated on their cars.

It's nice to see Autoweek covering the MINI so frequently. This story has been building now for a year and as many of us know MINIUSA seems to be sticking to their guns so far.

Of course there are alternative as the story points out. Most owners I know have turned to the brake light mod that turns your unused rear foglights (which are actually installed) into an extra set of brakelights. With all the large SUVs in the US I'd personally prefer to have these lights used as brakes anyway. Nonetheless it would be nice to at least have the choice – even if it's at the owners expense. Here's MINIUSA's response to that idea (from the Autoweek article):

Michael McHale, Mini communications manager, says BMW's product marketing group, which decides the content in vehicles, opted to make rear fog lights unavailable on the U.S. version of the Mini.

He says Mini and BMW officials are aware of the group of owners asking for the lights, but there are no plans to reverse the product group's decision. The matter is not scheduled to be discussed again, McHale says.

“There's a minimum lighting requirement that we meet,” McHale says. “We are comfortable with the lighting performance of our cars.”

The refusal to offer the lights flies in the face of the friendly relationships that Mini has worked to establish with its customers.

“We just don't do it,” McHale says. “No BMWs have them, either.”