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Mini Goes CitySurfing

Fold-up electric scooter aims to address challenge of crowded urban streets.

by on Nov.19, 2014

Mini's new CitySurfer concept is a kick scooter with an electric drive motor on it.

“Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how…”

And that includes the folks at Mini who apparently have taken the classic Beach Boys tune to heart with the unveiling of their little CitySurfer Concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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Even by Mini standards, the CitySurfer is small, and you measure its performance in manpower, as well as horsepower. The maker dryly suggests the two-wheeler “presents an innovative concept providing increased flexibility for individual mobility in conurbation areas.” In lay terms, it’s a kick scooter with a back-up electric drive. (more…)

Mini Latest to Admit Mislabeling MPG

EPA to revise testing procedures, make numbers more accurate.

by on Oct.23, 2014

The Mini Cooper's mileage numbers have gotten a downgrade from the EPA.

Mini has become the latest in a line of automakers who have had to admit they were overstating their fuel economy numbers.

The British marque’s 2014 Mini Cooper actually gets anywhere from one to four miles per gallon less than originally claimed. The BMW subsidiary’s error follows in the tire tracks of Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Hyundai and Kia, all of which also have had to roll back their mileage claims.

Keeping it Accurate!

Meanwhile, many consumers groups continue to complain that they’re routinely seeing real world numbers that lag what manufacturers post on their Monroney window stickers and use in their advertising. That’s leading to stricter enforcement and likely changes to testing procedures by the Environmental Protection Agency which oversees fuel economy regulations.


Marking a Mini Milestone with the New Cooper S Hardtop

Going down for the count.

by on Sep.15, 2014

Mini celebrated the 3 millionth car built at the Oxford, England plant. The 2015 models are now in production.

It was two, three four for Mini last week: the maker marking the roll-out of the 3 millionth car produced at its Oxford assembly plant, including the 2 millionth Mini earmarked for export.

As for four, the British maker also offered up the first drive in its next-generation four-door Hardtop. A five-door, actually, with the hatchback scheduled to reach U.S. showrooms in December.

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Mini launched production of its original microcar at the end of 1958 at plants in Longbridge and Oxford, vehicles sold as both the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. In 1962 the Austin Seven was renamed Austin Mini and Mini became a brand of its own in 1969. (more…)

Riding Along as Mini Takes the States

Ready to go all the way.

by on Aug.07, 2014

Mini owners prepare to launch the next leg from Chicago on the Mini Takes the States tour.

Sherrie Savela is ready to go all the way — from coast to coast, that is, and then back again.

It’s a cool and crisp summer morning, the rising sun glinting off Lake Michigan as she grabs a quick breakfast before climbing back into her Mini Clubman. “I’m Going All the Way,” declares her T-shirt, marking her as one of more than 300 Mini owners who plan to travel from San Francisco to New York as part of the maker’s “Mini Takes the States” 15-day tour.

Come Along for the Ride!

Actually, Savela and her husband will be going all the way twice, having headed out from her home in Connecticut to join in on the winding, 4,800-mile drive which began in the City by the Bay on July 28 and will which wrap up in Boston on August 9th. Along the way, the group has made more than a dozen stops, including this one at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, another planned for the evening at Cleveland’s Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.


BMW Earnings Beat Forecast

Maker anticipates big jump in sales and earnings for full year.

by on Aug.05, 2014

BMW is counting on a wave of new products, such as this M4 Convertible, to help bolster sales and earnings for the rest of 2014.

BMW’s net earnings jumped more than 27% during the second quarter, and the German maker confirmed its earlier forecast of a big jump in sales and profits for all of 2014.

The largest of the luxury car manufacturers, BMW earned 1.77 billion Euros for the April-June period, or $2.38 billion, up from 1.39 billion Euros a year ago. The automaker sold 5.3% more vehicles through its BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini brands, a total of 533,187 cars and crossovers.

Global Perspective!

But revenues didn’t quite keep pace, climbing a more modest 1.8%, to 19.9 billion Euros. The strong Euro didn’t help. And BMW has been ramping up spending in a market that is demanding more high-tech features, and solutions to demands for better fuel economy and lower emissions, it said. (more…)

All But One of a Dozen Small Cars Fall Short in Crash Test

Mini Countryman nabs a “good” rating from IIHS.

by on Jul.30, 2014

The 2014 Mini Countryman was the only vehicle to earn a "good" rating in the latest IIHS small car crash tests.

For those worried about the safety of today’s small cars, the latest round of crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety didn’t provide much good news.

Out of an even dozen vehicles included in the test, only the Mini Countryman earned a “good” rating. And among the plug-based vehicles included in the tests for the first time, only the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid managed to eke out an “acceptable” rating – while also earning a Top Safety Pick+ award.

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“The Mini Cooper Countryman gave a solid performance,” says Joe Nolan, the Institute’s senior vice president for vehicle research. “The Countryman’s safety cage held up reasonably well. The safety belts and airbags worked together to control the test dummy’s movement, and injury measures indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a real-world crash this severe.”


Mini Adds New 4-Door to Line-Up

More doors, more room.

by on Jun.05, 2014

The new Mini Hardtop gets a bit longer to handle the two extra doors - and a usable back seat."

It may be Mini, but the British maker’s line-up is about to get a bit bigger with the addition of the first-ever four-door version of its Hardtop model.

Confirming long-standing rumors, Mini said the new model will roll into U.S. showrooms later this year, the latest in a fast-growing line-up of niche products. Considering the success of the larger, 4-door Countryman model, it’s clear that the British maker is betting there’s a solid market for those who want a little more convenience and flexibility than the traditional 2-door Hardtop offers.

Product News!

Both models will share the same underlying platform which recently went through a complete redesign – but the 4-door will gain even more length to accommodate the extra doors, and to provide a usable rear seat.


Mini Offers Sneak Peek at Clubman Concept

When is a Mini not so mini?

by on Feb.26, 2014

The Mini Clubman Concept grows 10 inches longer.

Mini isn’t wasting time rolling out new variants based on the all-new platform developed for its third-generation Hardtop.  Showgoers will get an idea of what it has in mind when the British maker pulls the cover off the new Mini Clubman Concept at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

Expected to give a good indication of what to expect when the next-generation Clubman goes into production, the Concept is longer, wider and a good bit more up-market in appearance than the current five door – six, if you count the split barn doors at the rear as two.

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“The Mini Clubman Concept shows how the Mini Clubman could be taken a step further: more interior space, a greater sense of high-end quality and yet still clever, bold and distinctive. In short: more car, more Mini,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design, explaining the approach to this model.


Mini Scrambling for Capacity

Maker has high hopes for all-new Hatchback.

by on Feb.19, 2014

The new Mini Hardtop may be a little larger but it will be a getting a smaller 3-cylinder engine.

While over-capacity has been a crippling problem for many European automakers, a few are facing quite the opposite issue, largely due to strong export sales. Mini is one of the makers struggling to expand capacity as its growing line-up triggers a sharp growth in demand.

With an all-new version of its original Hardtop model coming to market, the minicar unit of BMW AG is set to add a new plant in the Netherlands, with a major share of its production capacity earmarked for export once it begins production this coming summer.

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But rather than building a plant of its own, British-based Mini will use a contract supplier in the Netherlands, VDL Nedcar, which will add 1,500 workers at its factory in Born. Production will supplement the output from the existing Mini factory in Oxford, England.


Mini to Reveal New John Cooper Works Concept in Detroit

“Technology lifted straight from the race track.”

by on Dec.17, 2013

Mini apparently has some big plans for the next-gen John Cooper Works hatchback.

Mini’s newest hot hatch will be putting in its debut appearance at the Detroit Auto Show next month – or at least a “concept” version of the next-generation John Cooper Works model based on the British marque’s all-new platform.

Sadly, Mini is holding back on much of what we’d most like to know about the new model.  Beyond reference to its “go-kart feeling,” and “technology lifted straight from the race track,” the BMW subsidiary’s press release holds back powertrain details.

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What we do learn – backed up by these images – is that the Mini JCW Concept adopts a Bright Highways Grey exterior accented with bright Chili Red details that include racing stripes and a contrasting red and white roof.  There are 18-inch alloy wheels, large air intakes replacing the standard hatchback’s fog lamps and LED headlamps.