MINI USA is down to a 15 day supply of cars – down from 100 to 120 days just 18 months ago. Or in other words there aren’t a lot of new (or used) MINIs available nationally. We’ve heard of some dealers with only 4-6 new MINI on the lot with most everything incoming already sold. What does that mean for MINI fans? Special orders are back.
20 years ago with the launch of the MINI brand part of its appeal was to special order your car making it completely unique. While it’s a common practice in Europe, for many US customers it was an entirely new approach to car buying. However with increasing sales volumes, dealers and models that approach became less and less prevalent as most buyers settled for MINIs specced close enough to their wishes on dealer on lots. Thanks for the chip shortage and COVID production issues and buying changing patterns that’s changed in a big way. According to MINI the current level of special orders for MINIs is close to what we saw at the brand’s US launch in 2002.
We for one love the change. Special ordering MINIs is something we’d recommend all fans of the brand do at least once. Debating options and tracking trains, boats and trucks until your car comes home is a priceless experience everyone should have once.
It’s also helping MINI USA and its dealer be more profitable. Carrying less inventory means less costs for dealers and a leaner operation. It also that people are paying closer to sticker which helps both dealer and MINI USA stay profitable. While that might not sound great for a potential buyer looking to get some money off the top, it’s a good sign for the brand long-term in the US market.