MINI takes a look back over the most successful year in the brand’s history


MINI takes a look back over the most successful year in the brand’s history

Munich/Oxford. The British premium small car  manufacturer MINI can look back on an eventful year marked by new  sales records, successful model launches and expansion into new  markets worldwide. 2012 once again served up a wealth of highlights  for brand aficionados, as well as being the most successful year to  date for MINI. Not only […]

Munich/Oxford. The British premium small car  manufacturer MINI can look back on an eventful year marked by new  sales records, successful model launches and expansion into new  markets worldwide. 2012 once again served up a wealth of highlights  for brand aficionados, as well as being the most successful year to  date for MINI.

MINI Brand

Not only has the vehicle line-up been extended to seven  models, meaning more choice than ever, but MINI is now represented in  over 100 markets around the globe for the very first time. Worldwide  sales of the MINI brand totalled 301,526 units last year, more than in  any previous 12-month period. The MINI review of 2012 summarises the  year’s most important, most extraordinary and most astonishing events.

January: MINI kicked off the year with yet another  first when the British carmaker showcased its model range at the Auto  Expo in the Indian capital of New Delhi for the very first time. This  coincided with the opening in New Delhi und Mumbai of MINI’s first  showrooms on the subcontinent. This made India the  100th market in which MINI is active. There is obviously a huge  appetite for premium small cars there too, with 50,000 fans  registering on MINI India’s Facebook page in the space of just a few  weeks. In Europe, the year commenced with the introduction of two  special-edition models, the MINI Baker Street and    MINI Bayswater, whose exclusive design and  equipment features have injected some contemporary London style into  the streetscape.

February: The launch of the MINI  Roadster extended the brand’s line-up to six models. The  first open-top two-seater from the British carmaker radiates an aura  of puristic sportiness. The manually operated soft-top roof, steeply  raked windscreen, low centre of gravity that has been weighted  forwards, and an automatically extending rear spoiler allow driving  pleasure to be experienced at its most intense. The MINI Roadster  range boasts a choice of four particularly feisty engines and is  spearheaded by the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster with 155 kW/211 hp  – never before have MINI drivers been able to feel such a vigorous  rush of wind through their hair. The MINI brand reinforced its  presence in the Middle East sales region with its market entry into  the Kingdom ofJordan. The MINI showroom in the heart of the capital  Amman presented customers with a choice of the entire MINI range from  day one.

March: The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman  received its world premiere at the Geneva Motor  Show. It is the first John Cooper Works model to direct the  power from its engine to all four wheels. Developed with the aid of  motor racing knowhow, the turbocharged engine comes in its most  powerful 160 kW/218 hp version and teams up with the standard ALL4  all-wheel-drive system to guarantee tremendous fun at the wheel over  any terrain. The list of standard equipment also includes sports  suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, as well as  an aerodynamics kit. The MINI John Cooper Works Countryman can also be  specified with an optional six-speed automatic transmission.  Meanwhile, the introduction of the MINI HighgateConvertible brought some real style to bear in the  world of open-top motoring. The new special-edition model fuses  exclusive flair and individuality with a generous dose of Brit-cool.

April: Individuality was very much the focal point of  MINI’s show stand at the Auto China in Beijing, where  the MINI Clubman Hyde Park celebrated its world premiere. There was  also a debut for the MINI’s forefather, with five classic Mini cars  taking part in the Allgäu-Orient Rally for the first  time. This alternative race for classic cars and recent classics sets  off from the village of Oberstaufen in Bavaria before heading for the  Azerbaijani capital of Baku, over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) away.  MINI also took the opportunity to join in congratulating the  international language of Esperanto on reaching a  special milestone: 125 years ago it began to take the world by storm,  eventually becoming a cultural asset that is fondly cherished in over  100 countries – very much in the mould of the MINI.

May: The former F1 circuit in Le Castellet, France  was the place to be for the global MINI Community when it hosted    MINI United 2012. Some 30,000 delighted MINI  enthusiasts were able to revel in three days of top international  music acts, motor racing action and a throbbing party atmosphere, all  themed around the MINI. The stage buzzed to the sound of live  performances from bands such as Iggy and the Stooges and Gossip. The  same month saw MINI supporting the Life Ball in Vienna, Europe’s  biggest charity event, for the 12th time. The Life  Ball combines a fashion show with doing some good for  society. MINI continued its tradition of donating for auction a  vehicle specially designed for the occasion, the proceeds of which go  to projects that have been set up to combat HIV and AIDS. Over 4,000  classic Mini fans descended on Lake Balaton in Hungary, meanwhile, for  the International Mini Meeting, the largest gathering  in the classic Mini Club calendar.

June: MINI unveiled yet another new model, this time  one that had been designed with special transport tasks in mind. The    MINI Clubvan combines all the practical strengths  of a compact delivery van with the driving fun for which the brand is  renowned along with highly distinctive looks. It comes with two seats  and 860 litres of load space, which owners can easily make the most of  thanks to the split door at the rear. Not only is the first premium  vehicle of its kind highly versatile, it also makes an ideal mobile  calling card for tradespeople who are anxious to create a stylish  impression when delivering goods to their customers. The trade  publication “Automobilwoche” awarded its top rating of “Triple  A” (Automobilwoche Award  Autohandel) to the MINI sales force in Germany. In a  study into the professionalism of personnel in car dealerships, MINI  salespeople emerged as the best source of advice for potential  customers amongst the premium brands.

July: London calling – yet more highly alluring  special-edition models were brought out in the guise of the    MINI Hyde Park and MINI Green  Park, which celebrate the British way of life with far more  than just their names. Their exclusive colour scheme and classy  appointments fuse extravagance with understatement to superb effect.  In the United States, MINI extended an invitation to take part in a  unique coast-to-coast rally with the slogan MINI TAKES THE  STATES: the MINI Community set out for Los Angeles from New  York on 4 July, Independence Day.

August: The Mini MINI played a  starring role during the athletics events at the London Olympic Games.  Powered by an electric motor, the miniature radio controlled model was  used to ferry javelins, discuses, hammers and shots back from the  field to the throwing area. The brand’s sporty streak was on show once  again at the opening of the Moscow International Automobile  Salon, with a stand that centred around the new John Cooper  Works models.

September: The seventh model in the brand’s line-up,  the MINI Paceman, made its world debut at the    Paris Motor Show. With two doors and a large  tailgate, powerful proportions, flowing coupé-like lines, plus a  lounge-style interior featuring two individual seats in the rear, this  is the first Sports Activity Coupé in the premium compact segment. The  MINI Paceman can be equipped with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system as  an option. The fastest MINI ever built blasted onto the scene as the  second crowd-puller at the Mondial de l’Automobile – but not for long.  The MINI John Cooper Works GP is being built in a  limited run of just 2,000 units for racing enthusiasts all over the  world. Awaiting them is a scintillating and exclusive sports machine  featuring a 160 kW/218 hp turbocharged four-cylinder power unit,  adjustable coilover suspension, an ultra-powerful sports braking  system, Driving Stability Control with GP race mode and precisely  honed aerodynamic measures, along with model-specific alloy wheels and  sports tyres. The MINI John Cooper Works GP was fine-tuned on the  Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife circuit, where it recorded a best  time of 8:23 minutes. This same month, the classic Mini scooped a  great accolade in its home country when, 53 years after it first went  into production, readers of the UK car magazine “Autocar” voted it the    “Greatest British car ever made”. And nowhere are  the sheer thrill of this British classic and its phenomenal go-kart  feel more apparent than on the BMW Group’s test track in Aschheim near  Munich, where the classic Mini driver training  courses are held.

October: MINI sought and found 25 test drivers from  the Munich area for the brand’s first-ever all-electric car. For five  months, the testers taking part in the latest field trials will drive  the MINI E under everyday conditions; their  impressions and experiences will subsequently be incorporated into the  scientific analyses of both user behaviour and the infrastructure  requirements for electric vehicles.

November: An intense racing sensation with fewer  refuelling stops – a transformation is taking place under the bonnet  of the John Cooper Works models. The latest  incarnation of the turbocharged engine with motor racing breeding now  goes about its business even more efficiently. The 155 kW/211 hp  four-cylinder unit’s twin-scroll turbocharging and direct petrol  injection technology is now supplemented by variable valve timing,  which enhances both engine responsiveness and fuel efficiency. The    MINI Paceman received its US premiere at the    Los Angeles Auto Show, where new paint finishes and  detailed interior styling modifications for the MINI  Countryman were also revealed. The MINI One Countryman and  MINI Cooper Countryman models now meet the EU6  emissions limits as standard. In London, highly creative use of space  resulted in not one but two entries in the Guinness Book of  Records: on the same day that 28 female gymnasts managed to  squeeze into a MINI, 23 members of the same gymnastics team from East  Sussex succeeded in cramming themselves into a classic Mini, setting  another world record.

December: This time it was the turn of MINI to set a  new personal best, with annual vehicle sales topping the 300,000 mark  for the first time. To be exact, worldwide MINI deliveries up to the  end of the year totalled a record-breaking 301,526,  meaning that the brand’s sales were up by 5.9 per cent compared to  2011. Sales were once again strongest in the USA, followed by MINI’s  home country, the UK, and Germany. The forecasts for 2013 similarly  make for positive reading. The MINI Paceman is due to be launched in  March, while the brand also plans to move into more new markets.  Central America provides the latest evidence of MINI’s successful  expansion. The new age predicted by an ancient Mayan calendar dawned  there just a few days before Christmas – with absolutely no sign of  the end of the world, but with plenty of good omens for the MINI brand.

Gerald Ferreira

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Published : Friday January 11, 2013

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