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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK - I know everyone here knows about it, but I have been struck with how few people in the US have heard about the MINI - even those who claim to be car enthusiasts. The car magazines here do mention it, but unlike the front page story in Road and Track, it is generally a deeply buried paragraph. In fact, many have not even heard of the classic Mini!

I get the feeling there is a big void between MINI enthusiasts and everyone else. What are your experiences?
 

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i could be wrong but the mini is a british car built for the british market...

americans have never been a "small car" people. in the 60's when we had mini's u guys had big cadillacs that did 5 miles to the gallon. the idea of a classic mini cruising down route 66 doesn't really seem to fit.

but like i said... i could be wrong.
 

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Well, I'm certainly a car nut, but I knew of the classic Mini. I agree that most people don't know anything about the new MINI here in the US. I'll admit that even though I was aware of it, I didn't know how cool it would be until the R&T cover story. That's the point at which I went into a frenzy of hitting miniusa.com, mini2.com and calling all the local dealers. Thanks R&T! :D

Of course, this could be part of the strategy of BMW/MINI NA. 20,000 cars a year isn't much and if you get the general public pumped about it they'll be disappointed when they can't get one(plus you spend more on advertising!). On the other hand, if you find that niche of people that'll snap up the cars and you can be profitable at the low volume level then it gets a bit of exclusivity and you hardly spent any $ on ads. As the general public gains awareness via word of mouth and seeing the cars they should be able to get their hands on them without too much delay after all us hard core MINI people get ours.
 

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Went to a Ford dealer yesterday to check out their hatch, the Focus ZX3. Not because I don't want a MINI, it's just that I think you make yourself vulnerable if you pin all your hopes onto only one thing. Anyway, the Focus has a two-liter "Zetec" 130-hp engine, and a multi-link rear suspension like the MINI's. The SVT version has a 6-speed Getrag gearbox. It's two feet longer than a MINI, but still looks small compared to other American cars. And it's a few thousand cheaper. (Well, I think the SVT is a couple thousand more than a MINI.)

The salesman treated me like I was wasting his time, I probably won't buy from this dealership even if I do end up with a Focus.

But back to the topic. The salesman asked me what other cars I was considering, so I told him. He said I was the second person in a month to mention the MINI to him. He knew it was from BMW, so he thought it might be like a DKW which apparently was a 3-cylinder thing BMW once sold long ago. He had also heard that its price would be around $19 thousand, but he couldn't believe this -- "from BMW? I don't think so." So he asked his mate if he'd heard of the BMW MINI. He said yes, and said very authoritatively "It'll be the same car as the VW minivan, only with a different label. Like Ford and Lincoln selling basically the same car".

I didn't waste my breath explaining the car to them, except to say that I thought BMW was calling the new division "MINI", not "BMW".

So, people don't know about the MINI, even people in the car business. And that's fine with me. :)
 

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Clutch Cargo said:
...But back to the topic. The salesman asked me what other cars I was considering, so I told him. He said I was the second person in a month to mention the MINI to him. He knew it was from BMW, so he thought it might be like a DKW which apparently was a 3-cylinder thing BMW once sold long ago. ...
Ignorance knows no bounds, does it? Strange he'd heard of DKW which morphed into a little company called Audi about forty years ago. He must have been confusing that with the 1-cylinder BMW Isetta bubble car - again more than 40 years ago.
Clutch Cargo said:
...He had also heard that its price would be around $19 thousand, but he couldn't believe this -- "from BMW? I don't think so." So he asked his mate if he'd heard of the BMW MINI. He said yes, and said very authoritatively "It'll be the same car as the VW minivan, only with a different label. Like Ford and Lincoln selling basically the same car"...
Sounds like he's confusing the upcoming Porsche Cayenne SUV that shares much with upcoming VW SUV.

In my experience, most car salespeople are not car enthusiasts. They know very little about the cars they sell, even less about other cars. They could just as easily be selling big screen TVs, flooring, or men's suits. :)
 

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Generally I've found most people here don't know don't know about the MINI, although my regular mechanics knew quite a bit about it. I too have been looking at other cars as a back up in case the MINI doesn't work out for me and when I told one dealer that I was waiting to test drive a MINI before making any sort of commitment (I was trying to get him to back off a bit) he grumbled something about not being able to compete with the amount of features you get with the MINI at that price. Clearly he knew something about it. You have to keep in mind that not only are Americans traditonally big car fans, but that government regulations kept the classic Mini out of our market for decades. For most Americans there wasn't even a chance of exposure. Still some people do know them and I do see the occasional classic around, usually in full Union Jack regalia.
 

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Our local Ford Dealer has A yellow ZX3 Focus sitting out font decorated like an easter egg with some sort of message about being "just in time for Easter" on it. If any one ever had a doubt about which car to get, I think this should provide the guidance you need to decide. (If you think a car that can be decorated like an easter egg is for you, by all means select the ZX3.

By the way the salesman there had no idea what a mini cooper was either. Neither does my boss, his last name is cooper.
 

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Mini? Wha?

I've found that hardly anyone knows about the Mini except the car enthusiasts I know. I am not old enough to remember the Minis when they first came to the US, but I frequent British car shows so I have always been in love with tiny British cars. I agree that Americans like everything supersized and that makes me sick. BMW is in such a great place right now - they've already got their allotment sold practically with NO advertising. They knew that the people who'd really want them would sign up early. Then those people will drive around and provide free advertising to the general public so that next year there will be even more people waiting in line.

I hate to say this, but American cars are so terribly bland and it's no surprise to me that the dealers don't know anything outside of their pathetic little world. They better be prepared to get rocked.

minimott
 

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As an American, I am ashamed of our desire of huge SUV's and trucks of all sizes whether we really use them for business or not. We should all be more aware of our planet and use less fossil fuel. When we drive a MINI we will be more at risk because of their excesses. That will not stop the enthusiasts and that is OK with me. With the car in low production numbers here in the States, I would prefer that every Tom, ****, and Harry not drive the same car as me. I'm also hoping that the long lists are due to duplicate names showing up on more that one list. I would rather drive a cult car and have quality service than drive a Ford and expect to take it back for the same service two or three times. I just don't know if I can take the silence from BMWMINI about when we can really order. That attitude wasn't expected and should not continue. Hopefully Mar. 22 will change that.
 

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Agreed

Killerbee is right, I too am ashamed of the whole glutenous SUV craze, I have co-workers who claim to be environmentalists (actually liberal/socialist knuckleheads) who drive around in Explorers and such...COMPLETE HYPOCRITES! With the estimated mpg of 30-40, I feel I will be doing a little more to lessen our dependence on Arab oil.
 

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i can not believe that the dealers did not know of the Mini!

It just seems such a strange idea that something so huge can not be known, especially with the predicted impact that the mini will have in the US when launched

There loss, I am sure they will be hearing a lot about it over the coming months
:D
 

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Originally posted by BruceK

In my experience, most car salespeople are not car enthusiasts. They know very little about the cars they sell, even less about other cars. They could just as easily be selling big screen TVs, flooring, or men's suits.
Unfortunately, that sums up the general state of auto sales in the US today. I can't ever remember when I went to a dealership and found a salesman who knew as much as I did about a car I was interested in---so ignorance of a car line exhibited by a salesman doesn't bother me anymore, but what I can't stand is a salesman who tries to BS me after he knows I have more technical info than he does about a car.

Auto salesmen frequently move from dealership to dealership, so they see a car a just a commodity they sell to make a living. Why learn details about a car make if next month you'll be selling a different brand? And when was the last time you heard a car salesman who was professional enough to take a marketing course, customer service course, or salesmanship course for self-improvement? Ever hear of a grade school kid wanting to grow up to be a car salesman? Car sales is what some people find themselves doing by default or on a temporary basis, not as a planned career.

I do admire those, who do show commitment to the auto sales profession and who are auto enthusiasts and who do take professional courses to improve their sales ability. These people are especially noteworthy considering the lack of respect their profession generally receives from the public.
 

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as a rich white American male (not really rich, but it sounds ever so much more anti-pc) I have no feelings of shame whatsoever in our nation's loveaffair with SUV's, instead I see the recent backlash against them as nothing more than liberal elitist predjudice. I currently drive 2 vehicles, a Chevy S-10 Blazer and a GMC Suburban. Both mid 20's mpg and run far cleaner than most econo cars on the road.

The major reason they are popular in the states now is purely fashion. In a few years who knows what will be the sales leader will be..... The fact that they offer more utilitarian conveniences, whether used or not, also makes them desirable. The larger mass offers a greater sense of protection in an accident, and in actuality DOES offer greater protection than a small car of the same range.

I am not buying a MINI to be enviro friendly or save money on gas, it is yet to be seen if either claim comes near what reality will prove.... the sportier the car the more aggressively it tends to get driven, increasing the risk of accidents (which are bad for the environment) and decreases fuel efficiency.

I am getting a Cooper because I -like- it. If you like huge SUV's and can afford one, by all means get it.

If you want to make a political or greenie statement with your car get a Ford Focus, ride a bike, or take the bus. Nothing irritates me more than getting stuck in traffic behind a filthy polluting gas guzzling BUS with 2 people sitting in it.

(unlike most of my other posts, I am not joking in this one.)
 

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Yeah! I am one of those liberal snobs that beleives that there are other parts of the world besides the US! I have driven a Mini for 30 years because I admire the style and engineering. I remember trying to explain "front wheel drive" and "CV joints" to people working on cars in the '70's. I think the New Mini will be a refreshing change for the US. The ongoing debate here is: "Detroit builds what people want" the comeback is "people only buy what is available and the government permits be sold from overseas." In general there is little to pick from here that does not look/act/drive/cost about the same. And now for something totally different! We have a porsche SUV!! Gee, is that pandering to the uninformed masses or what??
 

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anti-SUV

I don't want to start an argument with Normalizer, but I've read numerous reports where SUVs have failed crash tests because their frames are not as supportive and strong as smaller cars. (I'm not going to go out and cite websites or anything). I think they give a false sense of security, but that is just my opinion. They're more efficient? I haven't read anything that would support that argument. As a Miata driver, I know what it feels like to have 4000 lbs of SUV coming at me and future Mini drivers are going to have the same experience. Get an S so you can get out of their way because chances are they'll be on their cell phones and won't be paying attention even though they're "up high so they can see everything."

minimott
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ELISEBOY said:
It just seems such a strange idea that something so huge can not be known, especially with the predicted impact that the mini will have in the US when launched
I have never before seen the words huge and mini used in the same sentence! :rolleyes:

Despite our love for the MINI, I seriously doubt it will have a huge impact in the US. It will always be a niche cult car - and that is just fine with me! There are not enough dealers or cars available for it to be anything else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: anti-SUV

minimott said:
I don't want to start an argument with Normalizer, but I've read numerous reports where SUVs have failed crash tests because their frames are not as supportive and strong as smaller cars. ...
The problem is that the big trucks have frames that are too strong! When the front hits something, the whole vehicle comes to an instant stop rather than gradually compressing. It is the sudden deceleration that kills you (literally). Of course, if they hit a smaller vehicle, then that vehicle comes out pretty badly!

Fashions will change and I believe that in 10 years people will look back on vehicles like the Suburban and Navigator in the same way we now look at the weird classics with monster fins and hoods large enough to be helicopter landing pads. Until then, those who like them can keep driving them and I will get a MINI.
 

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Re: anti-SUV

"Fashions will change and I believe that in 10 years people will look back on vehicles like the Suburban and Navigator in the same way we now look at the weird classics with monster fins and hoods large enough to be helicopter landing pads. Until then, those who like them can keep driving them and I will get a MINI."

Amen to that!

minimott
 

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Hey Normmmmmm.....wait till you are boxed in by 3 or 4 suvs on the highway, are held back by an oblivious minivan driver on her phone on a nice twisty road, blocked by a couple suvs on a suburban road, blinded at a stoplight by a suv with their headlights mounted about level of your rearview mirror, or can't find your MINI on a supermarket parking lot because it is now hidden by the glut of overweight, fat ###ed, gas guzzling, polluting, artificial testosteroned, rubber gobblers that transport one person on 95% of their trips. Driving a Miata for a number of years has been a delightful experience except when forced to share the road with the attitudes of most suv drivers and the bulk of their machines. You might just feel the same way after driving your MINI a couple of weeks.
 

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There is something out there called "active safety" and "passive stafety." You just hit the nail on the head! The Mini will hare great ability in BOTH areas! I think BMW did not want to get into some the the discussion we had many years ago here in the US about teh VW Bug! (I still have the original 1966 Bug I learned to drive in!")
Larger vehicles and those with high centers of gravity sort of strike out in the "Active" area!!
 
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