I believe about half of the work force are from Germany still, and while I agree they need to improve their quality checking, I don't think the MINI is worse car for car than any other car in it's price bracket.
America? Don't make me laugh! The X5 is notorious for build problems, even Mercedes can't get the ML's built properly out there. If Nissan can make a good (well, well built, at least!) car in Sunderland, then I am sure BMW can do the same in Oxford. And wasn't the previous 3-series lousy for the first 18 months of production? They all seem sorted now! A few niggling faults is very different to long-term longevity.
Oh, and the SSP+? Fning excellent, esp. with 17" wheels. Pot-hole dodging is fast becoming my favourite past-time! Its such fun...
Mini Cooper. (Arrived 27/09/02 at 15:00)
Red, White Roof.
Chilli Pack. 17" S-Spokes. Climate Control. Heated Mirrors/Washer Jets. Trip Computer
To at least defend the US workforce, Honda's Merryville OH plant (Accords) and Toyota/GM's plant in Fremont CA (A bunch of stuff) all make typical Japanese super high quality cars. (Granted they're boring to drive, boring to own, and are everywhere). It is possible to use American labor and make nearly problem free cars, its just not simple.
Magic 8-ball was correct. All be in awe of Magic 8 ball.
I am sure most of us here understand where your coming from, and obviously you share my own dissapointed experience in the MINI. But things are improving all the time, and to be fair BMW are adressing most peoples concerns as they are raised, even to the extent of replacing whole vehicles.
The Honda Civic Type R is made in the UK as well, and I seriously doubt they are experiencing the same "build" quality issues. Things do need to improve, and undoubtedly it has something to do with outside suppliers as well.
Part of my own issue is a "price point" one, but that will vary from market to market. In Oz the MINI Cooper and the "S" are expensive compared to other vehicles, and on that basis they need to be "perfect". At the moment, they are a little short on that "need".
( I don't think a US based operation would help much on the quality side of things..... )
I think part of the problem has been the constant ramping up of production to try and meet demand ... hell no ones at their best when things are going 24/7/365 ... I've really no idea what the schedules are like but I'd be willing to guess that many are working insane hours because of the demand and ever increasing production.
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