MINI USA has confirmed its intention to expand its 83-strong American dealer network by 20 percent during the next 18 months to a total of 100 outlets across the country.

Most of the additional 17 MINI dealerships will be located in cities or areas that will be new markets for the brand.

Speaking at a New York City meeting, MINI USA Vice President Jim McDowell revealed: “Starting in 2011, our aim is to raise MINI sales by a ‘double-digit’ percentage compared with last year’s total of 54,077 cars delivered and this will correspond with a substantial expansion of our network coverage.

“We are celebrating a major landmark for MINI this year, its 50th Birthday, and we are pleased to announce plans for another significant milestone for the brand – the development of our national dealer network to 100 outlets,” he added.

“We are pleased to be in a position to dramatically increase our U.S. dealerships. I have often said that the world is becoming more MINI every day, and I believe that that sentiment is true, now more than ever, as consumer tastes shift decidedly to cars that offer tremendous value. Our cars are not only fuel efficient, and offer great value, but they also provide a fun and dynamic motoring experience and are packed with personality.”

The first of the new dealers to become operational this year will be MINI of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama. Speaking of the dealership’s appointment to the MINI USA network, General Manager Mark Gerloff said: “I am delighted to be given the opportunity to represent such a stylish and iconic brand in Alabama, and be given the opportunity to bring the unique attributes and heritage of MINI to our customers.”

In addition to Birmingham, Alabama, MINI will open dealerships in the following cities: Pensacola, Florida; Alexandria, Virginia; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Fort Myers, Florida; El Paso, Texas; Ontario, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Loveland, Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin; Mount Laurel, New Jersey; Allentown, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California and Tempe, Arizona.

Industry sales in the US this year have recorded a 37 percent decline through May, but MINI continues to outperform its competition and its market share continues to increase despite a sales decline over 2008.