It would seem that the first batch of 2005 MINIs (including convertibles) is sitting in New Jersey at the vehicle distribution center with no immediate time table on being shipped (as of this weekend). We were going to report on this last week but it seems so hard to get confirmation on it all that we run the risk of just creating more rumors. In fact there has been discussion on this topic for days now on the MINI2 forums.
(Update) It appears that the delay at the ports is common practice for EPA certification of new model year cars. There was a similar issue this time last year in fact. Many of the cars have a shipping date of 9/01/04 but they should be released much sooner than that. This info just came in from someone at MINIUSA familiar with the issue.
BTW for those that would like to take a closer look at what actaully goes on at the VPC you may be interested in this first hand report.