MINIs Sold Out!

Posted: July 23, 2008

They corner like go karts, and get up to 40 mpg on the highway.  They're made by a respected luxury automaker, but can be purchased for under $20,000 well-equipped.  They have iconic good looks that make their drivers the coolest people at every stoplight.  Want one?  Too late.  They're sold out. 

Autoblog reports, "If you were planning on hitting one of the 82 U.S. MINI dealers to get your hands on a fuel-efficient Cooper or Clubman, it looks like you'll need to look at plan B. Skyrocketing fuel prices has lifted demand of the little British icons to the point that, with the exception of pre-orders, all 2008 models are pretty much sold out."  BMW still plans to increase shipment of the little cars to the U.S., but manufacturing capacity is limited and the German automaker behind the MINI brand can only send another 2,000 to 3,000 MINIs our way in 2008 -- almost all of which are already sold through pre-order. 

Automobile Magazine notes, "MINI sales in the U.S. have risen 33.6 percent in the first half of 2008, and the figures from June don't discount that trend.  5211 cars were sold in June, a 24.8 percent increase over June 2007."  That makes MINI the only automaker to see rising sales throughout 2008.

MINIs will, of course, be available in the future.  More MINIs than ever, in fact.  BMW is planning to take further advantage of the MINI craze. Edmunds Inside Line notes, "The fast-growing BMW-owned brand is aiming for an overall lineup of as many as six vehicles."  Five hundred electric-powered MINI Coopers are on their way to California customers as part of an experiment to test the viability of electric cars, and a diesel-powered MINI may be on the way if BMW can make its engine conform to U.S. emissions regulations. 

The Detroit Free Press says a few more radical MINI designs may be on the way as well.  A crossover model "is expected to debut at the Paris auto show in October."  Industry analysts Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends consulting told the Free Press "small pickup may be among the coming additions to MINI's lineup."  But don't expect a MINI that isn't, well, mini.  Jim McDowell, vice president of MINI USA, told the Free Press "I can't imagine a MINI that's 13 1/2 feet long.  The way a MINI drives is very important to us.  We wouldn't sacrifice that for an additional model."

If you are shopping for a new small car and missed out on the MINI craze, you might find similar performance in the Scion tC, or consider stepping up to the Audi A3 for a similar interior.  Research the best alternatives in the small car segment with U.S. News' car rankings and reviews.


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