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For those of us MINI enthusiasts living in Texas without any MINI dealers in our state, the past 9 months have been especially frustrating - even more so as MINI launch day approaches next month. While 70 or so MINI dealerships were announced across the US in late spring 2001, the second most populous state was seemingly ignored. Texans who wanted a MINI were forced to look to out of state dealers to take deposits and left with real concerns regarding how to get a MINI serviced when the nearest dealer is literally hundreds and hundreds of miles away. A cryptic message on the miniusa.com website said (and still says) decisions on MINI dealerships in Texas "are still pending”. During all this time MINIUSA has been completely silent as to the reasons for the delay in naming dealers in Texas, as well as when the situation would be resolved. Consequently this news void generated lots of rumors and theories, but little real news or hopes of progress.

This past week I’ve been fortunate to have been in contact with a representative from MINIUSA regarding the dealership issue here in the Lone Star State. As far as I know, this is the first time the case has clearly been made that MINIUSA definitely wants to sell cars in Texas as soon as it is possible to do so.

Here is the relevant text of an email I received on the subject:

“MINI very much wants to sell its products in the state of Texas. Accordingly, we have been working with the Texas Motor Vehicle Division to obtain the necessary licensing to sell the MINI passenger car line-make in that state. Once licensed, the MINI Division will be in a better position to determine the best way to move forward in the state.

After our April 2001 submission, the Texas Motor Vehicle Division asked us for information that was not developed yet, e.g., the Dealer Agreement For MINI Passenger Cars. When we had all of the information that the agency requested available, we submitted it to the State. That occurred in December. In January, we received a new request for information. We are communicating with the TMVD now on that request.”


I was told by MINIUSA that there are still too many variables to determine just when MINI dealerships in Texas will be announced, but they are hopeful it will be “soon”.

I expressed my concern that even after the announcement is made it will take a long time before the selected BMW dealers can complete all the necessary things required to open a MINI franchise -- basically establishing a separate MINI showroom with sales staff distinct from the dealership’s BMW operations. Additionally, settling any local zoning issues and constructing a new MINI buildings can take lots of time. However, my contact at MINIUSA indicated that some BMW dealerships would be able to move more quickly than others to open the doors of their new MINI dealership once given the go-ahead. Apparently one quick method is to relocate a dealership’s used car department elsewhere and then transform the existing separate used car facilities into the new MINI dealership while at the same time a MINI sales staff is hired and trained.

So, after the news blackout from MINIUSA for the past 9 months on the subject, it is at least encouraging to now be told that MINIUSA is actively pursuing a resolution to the problem.
 

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Bruce, it may be for the best. Apparently the "fix" for the pulling won't be in the works until late March and that means it won't appear on the US cars until the April, May or even June delivery. Given their track record with niggles and problems, you may be wise to wait until the dust settles. By the time a dealer network can be set up in Texas, they should have most of the bugs worked out. Were you to buy an early car from a dealer 450 miles away, getting it serviced and having the defects corrected would be a nightmare. Buying a new car should be an enjoyable experience. I'm a scant six miles from my dealer, but I intend to wait at least another year before I decide whether to buy one. By that time there may be competition from Honda, Toyota, Nissan and VW, not to mention GM, Ford and Daimler/Chrysler. Have you seen the "MINI-like" TV ads for the new Toyota Matrix? It looks like a four-door MINI, it supposedly drives like a MINI, but is about two and a half feet longer. It will also be sold as the Pontiac Vibe. If they shorten it, they will have something very close to a MINI, but with more horsepower and undoubtedly better build quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr.bill, You certainly have outlined a more reasonable approach to acquiring a MINI and identified alternative cars, but I must tell you that I am way beyond rational thought on this matter (and have been for quite some time now :) ). To me, buying a Toyota Matrix, Civic Si, or Focus SVT et al. is about as appealing as obtaining a new kitchen microwave. They are appliances that have no heart and no soul and consequently I have very little interest in any of them. I don’t want to buy a new car, I want to own a MINI Cooper S - nothing else will do.

Having waited since September 1997 for the MINI to come within my grasp, there is no way in the world I would consider waiting another year for "the bugs to be worked out". I say give me a MINI now and I'll live with the consequences and inconveniences.

So, I will be buying a Cooper S from a dealer 1000 miles away as absolutely soon as possible, and I have resigned myself to the fact for a while I will be dealing with service issues at different dealer, the nearest one, 500 miles from my home. So be it. :)
 

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BruceK you are ever so the diplomat... Mr.Bill, I believe an automobile can be more than the sum of it's parts; i.e. the MINI. The matrix on the other hand is a bunch of parts taken from other car's parts bins. It has too much Pontiac styling in it. I'm sure it will be a great Toyota but it won't be a MINI.. At least for a couple of years until they benchmark the Cooper. Then they can build a car to duplicate the MINI Cooper S.

Looks too much like an Aztek. Is it a station wagon or a mini minivan?
 

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Bruce,
Good post, you hit the nail squarely on the head. Many of us on this board are not too concerned about "niggles". I don't care if my Cooper "S" pulls me into the left lane, as long as it does it quickly and smartly! Bring it on... I'll deal with it

Tom
 

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Bruce,

from what you've stated above, Texas MINI owners are looking at being about 12 months behind everyone else. It's amazing given the lead time for release around the world has been the same. If your BMW dealers are the same as Oz, that is, privately owned franchises, then once they get their collective acts together, I can see some very hastily erected "tin sheds" being erected with a "MINI" logo on them.

I hope it gets sorted out for you real quick. I have not been waiting anything like as long as you for your S, but i'm tempted to buy one of the pre-specced cars coming here, even in EB, as a Sept/Oct 02 wait seems so long.

Amazing, considering US must be MINI's biggest potential market.

cheers.

PS. G'day mr.bill........keeping up the good work!!...... ha ha ha
 

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Discussion Starter #8
mr.bill said:
We need a straw poll to guess what BruceK will put on the front of his S: steer horns or "Basil Bars." :D
I can assure you it will be neither.

My goal, on the front of my Cooper S, is to plaster the remains of thousands of flying insects who did not get out of my way! :D :D :D :D
 

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BruceK said:


I can assure you it will be neither.

My goal, on the front of my Cooper S, is to plaster the remains of thousands of flying insects who did not get out of my way! :D :D :D :D
I hope there's a bug screen on the intercooler scoop, coz my subaru intercooler gets damaged by the bigger bugs, as there is no flyscreen........ Not so much a problem in the UK but in Oz and US, the bugs are BIG !!!......

I bet the xenons will attract the bugs more at night too......excellent!!......hmmm and the Roo's. Not so good. Still you only live once.....

:)

Sorry to continue sending your thread off on a tangent Bruce, but you started it......ha ha ha
 

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All BruceK has to dodge are the jackrabbits and armadillos. You blokes in Oz have bugs big enough to stand flat-footed and make love to a wombat. Not sure there is a way to mount a bug deflector on the front of a MINI. The hood scoop is for the intercooler, but I haven't seen any pics of the engine on the S, so hard to say if bugs getting sucked in the scoop would be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
karmuze said:
Wow, what can I say? :eek: Thanks for the vote of confidence karmuze! Me? Mario Andretti?! Why, ummmm.... yes...... I think that's very close to accurate. :rolleyes: And of course I do have a pet armadillo, but he'll be my co-pilot sitting next to me inside the MINI, not in the scout position out front! And thanks for working the Texas flag into the scene (some day a bunch of us Texans are going down to Chile and kick some a$$ 'cause them furrners done copied our flag!)

:D :D :D :D :D
 

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Bruce, I know you have been fighting this problem with Texas/MINIUSA but I may have missed the main problem. What is the reason MINI can not sell in Texas?

Mike:confused:
 

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Back on Track

Thanks, Fireman Mike, for yanking this thread back on track. There ought to be a forum rule to suspend posting privledges temporarily for those individuals who constantly hijack threads for their own selfish interests.

BruceK, I think there is more to the story than you are getting from MINI USA, as you are probably
aware. If MINI USA was able to get licensed in all of the other states, over a year ago, why not in
Texas? I am sure that the dealer brought litigation over BMW NA trying to selectively award X5
selling rights to only a few Texas BMW dealers was behind MINI USA dragging their feet.

But since BMW lost the lawsuit in Texas, I don't see an early resolution to the lack of MINI stores in
Texas. MINI USA certainly can't consider the possibility of awarding of 20 MINI franchises in Texas,
due to the limited availability of cars to sell. If they attempt to award just 5 franchises, aren't they right
back in the same position they were over the X5 case--ie more litigation?

I think there is a possiblility of a long stalemate here, unless BMW NA offers the dealers some
concessions to voluntarily agree not to sue if they aren't chosen. What do you see as a possible
scenario to the end of the stalemate?

Now on a more selfish note. I am well down the list for a MINI at my local dealer and I have to deal
with probably the 'stupidest', most uncooperative sales representative in the network. Do you know
of any 'potential' dealers in Texas that have interest lists less than 100?
 

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Re: Back on Track

karmuze said:
Thanks, Fireman Mike, for yanking this thread back on track. There ought to be a forum rule to suspend posting privledges temporarily for those individuals who constantly hijack threads for their own selfish interests.

report them to a moderator if you have a problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
FiremanMike said:
Bruce, I know you have been fighting this problem with Texas/MINIUSA but I may have missed the main problem. What is the reason MINI can not sell in Texas?

Mike:confused:
Mike,

It's hard to say for sure, but below is the most popularly accepted story:

  • When the X5 SUV was introduced some years ago, BMW only wanted certain, select BMW dealers to be qualified for selling this "different" kind of BMW. The story goes that one of the BMW dealers in Texas who was not chosen to sell the X5 was upset and then encouraged the state of Texas to sue BMW under some sort of obscure Texas law which said every franchisee should be able to offer a supplier's full product line to its customers - in this case the full BMW line including the X5.

    While BMW and the state of Texas were engaged in the suit, BMW appears to have used MINI as a bargaining chip - no dealerships were announced for Texas while the suit was underway. MINIUSA denies this was the case, saying the state’s action against BMW had nothing to do with MINI. However, in the quote in the first post of this thread, MINIUSA readily acknowledges that it took them a full 7 months, from April 2001 to December 2001, to develop the "the Dealer Agreement For MINI Passenger Cars" paperwork and file it with the state of Texas. The X5 suit was settled around December 2001. You do the math.

    For more background, including a link to a newspaper article about the subject, look at this link:
http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3841

It's taken a while, but I'm encouraged that things seem to be on the right track now.
 

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Re: Back on Track

karmuze said:
...BruceK, I think there is more to the story than you are getting from MINI USA, as you are probably aware. If MINI USA was able to get licensed in all of the other states, over a year ago, why not in Texas? I am sure that the dealer brought litigation over BMW NA trying to selectively award X5 selling rights to only a few Texas BMW dealers was behind MINI USA dragging their feet.
No arguments here. See my posting directly above. Hard to believe it took 9 months to get the paperwork completed. Had they been working at that in ernest and with a sense of urgency, at the very least they could have used the existing BMW paperwork that already permits them to do business in this state and substituted the word "MINI" in place of "BMW". (an exaggeration -- but you get the point that it was not rocket science to develop such a document)

Originally posted by karmuze But since BMW lost the lawsuit in Texas, I don't see an early resolution to the lack of MINI stores in Texas. MINI USA certainly can't consider the possibility of awarding of 20 MINI franchises in Texas, due to the limited availability of cars to sell. If they attempt to award just 5 franchises, aren't they right back in the same position they were over the X5 case--ie more litigation?

I think there is a possiblility of a long stalemate here, unless BMW NA offers the dealers some concessions to voluntarily agree not to sue if they aren't chosen. What do you see as a possible scenario to the end of the stalemate?
Ah, but there is a subtle distinction here: According to the way the game is played, MINI is a completely separate car line (not just a different BMW model) and that makes all the difference. MINIUSA can decided upon the number of MINI dealerships completely independently of the number of BMW dealerships --- just as GM can decide the number of Saturn dealers without having to maintain a one-to-one match with the number of Chevrolet dealerships.

I thought the original issue of selling a particular model to only several of many dealers was moot. It had already been accomplished many times over in Texas. For example only certain Dodge dealers can sell the Viper. I guess the difference is there has been no rogue Dodge dealer asking the state to jump in and sue DaimlerChrysler over that situation.

Originally posted by karmuze
Now on a more selfish note. I am well down the list for a MINI at my local dealer and I have to deal with probably the 'stupidest', most uncooperative sales representative in the network. Do you know of any 'potential' dealers in Texas that have interest lists less than 100?
Sorry, I just don’t know. The hard part is determining which of the 20 or so BMW dealers in Texas are going to get the estimated 5 or so MINI dealerships in the state. Many of them will happily take your deposit. I’ve got a deposit down at my local BMW dealer, (one of 3 deposits I have at various locations on a MINI) but there is still no list at this time – and it may turn out that they don’t get a franchise. So.... choose wisely?
 

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That's the key

Of course, BMW has been saying all along that MINI is not a beemer. It is also apparent that in the US the corporate story line is to maximuze the distinction and distance between BMW and MINI.
Originally posted by BruceK
(one of 3 deposits I have at various locations on a MINI)
That takes all of the guess work out of deciding what color and options to choose-take all 3 of them. Oh, to be one of you J.R. Ewing rich Texas oil-baron types.:D

Originally posted by Basil
report them to a moderator if you have a problem with it.
Tried that already, didn't work. Greetings to you and the other forum folks from down under. "Tie me kangaroo down sport" and "throw another barbie on the fire" for me? Ha!
One fine country you got there. Got to see Sydney for a week, a while back, all expenses paid via the Army. Stayed in the Cross, if I remember it was Charing or maybe Kings.
Hope to get back again and see more than just Sydney. Just got to make it to Surfer's Paradise to see the CART race.

What were we discussing here? OH, yeh, TEXAS. Hook 'em Horns--Go Mavericks--Check those Stars--Cowboys suck--and good luck Houston ????? in your first season.
:)
 

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Re: That's the key

karmuze said:


Tried that already, didn't work. Greetings to you and the other forum folks from down under. "Tie me kangaroo down sport" and "throw another barbie on the fire" for me? Ha!
One fine country you got there. Got to see Sydney for a week, a while back, all expenses paid via the Army. Stayed in the Cross, if I remember it was Charing or maybe Kings.
Hope to get back again and see more than just Sydney. Just got to make it to Surfer's Paradise to see the CART race.

G'day mate :)

Basil is a slightly distruptive element I'm afraid. But he's here to have fun and make things a little more lively than they might otherwise be. This does upset some users, but the majority don't mind too much........

Kings Cross is ummmm, lively.. if you know what I mean.

cheers........
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Now that Peake BMW in New Orleans is definitely not going to be a MINI dealer, my source at MINIUSA tells me BMW is feeling the pressure to fill the huge MINI dealer void in the lower half of the country stretching from Atlanta to Phoenix. (Yeah, there's probably only 50-60 million people living in that general area - no need to be hasty to serve them :rolleyes: )

Earlier this week a rep from MINIUSA said the Texas dealership issue is still being hammered out between BMW and the state government. I'm told it still has to do with MINI being recognized as a unique car line separate from the BMW car line. It's hard to believe things can move so slowly. :mad:
 
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