MINI reliability is a phrase that many former owners would scoff at. Yet MINIs have become decidedly more reliable and better built with the F generation of cars launched in late 2014. Designed and engineered 100% by BMW using BMW specified components, the newer MINIs have slowly began changing the perception of the brand as poor quality. As we wrote late last year, it holds true in our experience as well. We’ve had three F generation cars all without a single issue (or rattle for that matter).
All this quality has one unexpected downside. Dealer service centers are less busy than in years past. This is directly impacting dealers bottom lines as service can be a major revenue generator. This coupled with a downturn in MINI sales have hit some dealers hard. MINI USA VP Thomas Felbermair recently went on record with Automotive News saying “is still not where we would like to see it,” Felbermair said. Another factor that “is weakening profitability” for dealerships is the drop in recalls, Felbermair said. The Mini lineup has been heavily improved, and the brand had no recalls in 2017, he said. While that’s positive for the brand and customers, it cuts into revenue for dealership service departments.
The other irony is that many of the customers that have been clamoring for better built and engineered MINIs have left the brand due to repairs costs on R53s and R56s. Can MINI market this improved quality? Can they attract some of those longterm customers back to the brand? Or are they a lost cause and should MINI focus on gaining a new customer set? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.