Varse, please realize the MINI has no cult following here. Most people never heard of one. You Brits are willing to overlook the minor faults because "it is a great car." Problem here is people don't know how "great" it is and will look at the overall picture. A product with a lot of minor faults will be rejected in favor of one that is perceived to be perfect. Brits like to tinker with a car to keep it running. Americans are, for the most part, a lazy lot. They just want to get in a car and drive, not spend hours fixing it.
If the MINI is to succeed here, it has to be fault free. If it pulls left, has electrical problems, the seats break, etc., it will go the route of the other English cars that have not been available here for years. If you can find a copy of Consumer Reports, take a look at one of their car tests. You think I'm picky??? They examine things such as wheel alignment, accuracy of the gauges, distortion in the windshield glass, paint flaws, squeaks and rattles, fit and finish, etc. The "sample defects" downgrade the car accordingly. Most cars have three or four. Can you imagine how the MINI would score with 20 or 30 defects? They test cars by going in and buying one from the dealer, so it is the same as the consumer would get, not one specially prepared for a magazine test.
I want a MINI. I want it to succeed. But they better get their act together if it is going to be a success here.