17 August 2011

A decade of the MINI

This year, it is 10 years since the new MINI hit the streets. Time sure flies.

IT was a controversial move when BMW pursued on the project of replacing the original Mini. Rightly so, because it was a widely admired British icon. As with all iconic cars, they’re difficult (if not, impossible) to replace. It hardly came to a surprise that BMW faced a daunting task.

Despite this, BMW pulled through, and the new MINI became a runaway success. It has become a major hit with buyers as it captured their hearts and imaginations. The glowing reviews and reports of it looking, feeling and handling like the original Mini certainly helped in its favour. Received as the British icon for the 21st Century.

The new MINI has been in high demand. With pressure and difficulty of Cowley’s production staff keeping up to meet the demand. Resulting in a waiting list for the buyers. That has helped a great deal with the MINI’s second hand residuals. Resisting depreciation much better than virtually any second hand modern car on the market. The sales figures reached the 1 million mark in April 2007. On average, around 240,000 vehicles roll off the production line every 12 months from the high demand.

BMW have been busy with expanding the MINI throughout the past decade. Not just the models in the car's range, but as a car brand itself. First available as a hatchback with: One, Cooper, Cooper S and Works models. The MINI was soon available as a cabriolet in 2004.

The MINI was updated in late 2006, with the Cooper D and Clubman estate added to the range. There's also been other additions to the MINI line-up. Recently being the controversial, pseudo 4x4 MINI Maxi Countryman. Then there's the MINI Coupe on the horizon. Throughout that time, there's also been some bizarre MINI concepts.

I believe that the late Sir Alec Issigonis, the brain child of the original Mini, wouldn’t like the new MINI at all. He was a firm believer in designing and engineering cars that were fit for purpose. Something BMW’s isn’t in contrast to its forebear. It’s a case of being form over function. It’s a fashion accessory, and Issigonis hated the notion of styling any cars he designed. Which is all more ironic because the original Mini was a style icon.

A Happy 10th anniversary to the new MINI. No doubt it will be around a decade on.

MINI range MAXED out.

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