It’s often the small things from “good old Europe” that give Americans pleasure: Swiss Army knives for example, French macaroons or the MINI. 15 years ago the first of the small British cars conquered the cities and highways of the USA.
The extraordinary success story began with the launch of the MINI Cooper and the MINI Cooper S in March 2002 and it is set to continue. More than 725 000 cars of the premium brand have been registered in the US to date. More than 20 per cent of all new cars of the brand sold worldwide provide uniquely distinctive driving fun on American roads.
The MINI already made the jump across the Atlantic only a few months after it was launched in Europe. The new concept of offering high-grade technology and premium quality in small car format appealed to the popular taste of demanding target groups right from the start. Even in the land of the road cruiser, the MINI came to embody efficient driving fun, expressive visual appeal and individual style straight off the bat.
Within only a few years, the US became the most important individual market for the brand worldwide. And the MINI fanbase continues to grow from New York to Los Angeles. The unbroken enthusiasm for hallmark MINI driving fun has also been confirmed by independent experts. The MINI brand in the USA took first place in the J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction index six times already.
The ongoing expansion of the model range also contributed to the continuously growing popularity of the brand. The MINI Convertible became a bestseller, above all on the sunny West Coast. With the introduction of the MINI Countryman, the brand established itself in the premium compact segment and also among completely new target groups.
The new model now offered new ways of experiencing the special MINI feeling thanks to five doors, five seats and all-wheel drive. Currently the MINI 3 door, the MINI 5 door and the MINI Convertible are also creating added diversity in the US small car segment, while the new MINI Countryman is delivering driving fun to the compact class.
Parallel to the expansion of the model range and sales success, the MINI dealer network in the US has also grown. The launch year saw 66 active sales and service centres between the East and West Coast, now MINI customers have 127 dealers in 39 states to choose from.
The unique “MINI Takes the States” community event is another symbol of the success of the brand in the US. The two-week cross country rallye attracted more than 4 000 MINI drivers last year alone to take part in at least one stage from Atlanta in Georgia to Palm Springs in California. No less than 900 MINI enthusiasts covered the entire distance of nearly 4 400 miles.
Apart from all the driving fun involved and the sense of community, a focus was also put on a social aspect. During the course of the tour money donations for the Feeding America charity organisation were collected. At the end of the tour the donations financed 1.3 million meals for people in need in different parts of the country.
MINI achieved its latest success on the Daytona racetrack in Florida. The MINI JCW Team took the first win in the street tuner class in the Continental Tire Sport Car Challenge racing series straight off. The racecar, based on the MINI John Cooper Works and raced by the LAP Motorsports Team, won the four-hour long-distance race entirely in the style of its historic example.
Just like the classic Mini, which won the last of its three overall victories at the Rallye Monte Carlo 50 years ago, the MINI John Cooper Works was victorious on the Daytona International Speedway thanks to its reliability, efficiency and agility, beating numerous larger competitors with more powerful engines in the process.