Monthly Archives: May 2014


collectibles: MINI USA owner loyalty gift speakers

MINI speakers (front) MINI speakers (back)

Recently some MINI owners in the US have been receiving surprise packages in the mail.  It’s unclear why some are receiving these, but the common thread seems to be owners who purchased a 2012 MINI (so far).

The foldable plastic speakers are approximately 3″ on each side with wires and a jack.

The letter on the included card reads:

Dear MINI Motorer:

Do you know how much we appreciate your loyalty? (No? We can hum a few bars…) Seriously, in the time you’ve been Motoring, we hope it has inspired you at least once to break out into song. After all, MINI and music have made a perfect match since 1959 and into the Swinging Sixties, when top British pop icons declared their affection for their fave small ride.

Anyway, to celebrate your own Motoring musical heritage, we wanted to give you a gift that’s music to your gears: speakers to take anywhere. They’re flat, they’re fabulous, and they open to deliver the best sounds in the world: yours.

Thanks!

Let’s Motor.

David Duncan
V.P., MINI of the Americas

MINI speakers MINI speakers card

MINI Superleggera Vision concept debuts

MINI Superleggera™ Vision

Looking like nothing we’ve seen from the MINI design team, MINI surprised us with this MINI Superleggera Vision concept roadster.

From BMW Group PressClub Global:

Munich/Cernobbio. The BMW Group celebrates the meeting of the time-honoured and the contemporary at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2014 with a very special concept: the MINI Superleggera™ Vision. This exclusive interpretation of an open-top two-seater was created by MINI and Touring Superleggera, the tradition-steeped design and coach building house based in Milan. The MINI Superleggera™ Vision is on the one hand a classic roadster, a compact and agile two-seater, expressing the most minimalist and emotional style of motoring; and on the other hand its electric drivetrain gives the car distinctly modern driving dynamics. In collaboration with MINI, Touring Superleggera™ has designed and built an elaborately crafted, unique model which blends the tradition of classic coachwork construction with the MINI’s authentic British styling to create timeless aesthetic appeal.

  • Modern Britishness meets Italian flair: the iconic design of MINI meets elegant, athletic beauty – interpreted in contemporary style.
  • Classic Italian body construction and hand-shaped metal sheeting give the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision a unique emotional appeal.
  • Both on the inside and outside, the form is reduced to the maximum extent so as to achieve a clear focus on the distinctive driving experience.
  • The interior reflects traditional coachwork construction in terms of materials and styling, combined with the icons of MINI interior design.
  • High-end materials such as leather, aluminium and black chrome highlight the clear aesthetics of the interior.

Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design on the concept: “Touring Superleggera and MINI have much in common: both companies attach great importance to their history and this is something which defines their outward appearance to this day. What is more, they both emphasise iconic design and distinctive solutions. These elements are merged in the MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision to create an elegant automobile which interprets a British roadster under the influence of Italian style and hand craftsmanship.”

British design with an Italian accent – the exterior design.

“The MINI SuperleggeraTM Vision elegantly perpetuates what the Classic Mini started 55 years ago: reduction to the essentials. Its energetic, minimalistic design embodies the dynamic essence of an automobile. At the same time it creates unique emotional beauty in combining the past and future of the automotive industry, i.e. traditional coachwork craftsmanship and modern design styling. It was a pleasure for me to design a concept like this.” says Anders Warming, Head of MINI Design.

The perfectly balanced proportions indicate at first glance what the electrically powered MINI Superleggera™ Vision has to offer in terms of a driving experience: the stretched bonnet, long wheelbase and cool, short overhangs convey pure driving fun. As in every MINI, the wheels are set widely on the body, promising a high degree of agility. The passenger cell is slightly set back, further underscoring the car’s dynamic impression. The overall effect of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision is sporty, elegant and dynamic.

The front of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision features the traditional MINI design icons: two circular headlights and a hexagonal grille define the unmistakable front section, providing a contemporary interpretation of features which have become firmly established over decades. There are also striking classic sports car elements such as a wide track and distinctively curved wheel arches that give the front a dynamic presence. The classic MINI bonnet stripes are three-dimensionally embossed and run on into high-quality polished aluminum accents. The inlaid bonnet harks back to classic British roadsters of bygone days.

Meanwhile the horizontal rib look of the radiator grille adds a classic sporty touch. The fact that it is closed is a discreet indication of the car’s electric motor. The two fog lights echo the circular contours of the headlamps, providing a smaller interpretation of them in the radiator grille. The air inlets are also circular, giving the front section a distinctive touch. A flat front splitter made of carbon fibre closes off the front to the road, thereby underscoring the car’s sporty statement down to the last detail.

Classic coachwork construction in a cutting-edge interpretation.

The striking element of the side view is the characteristic “Touring” line. It embodies both the high art of coachwork building and classic aesthetics. Surrounded by tight, seamless surfaces, it traces a precise, vibrant movement from the front wheels through to the rear. This reflects the great craftsmanship and longstanding experience of Touring Superleggera in area of body construction: ever since it was founded the company has stood for fine, light sports car bodies. To this day, Touring Superleggera™ shapes large aluminium sheets by hand using the most performing frame structures. The hand-crafted style of construction gives the MINI Superleggera Vision an aesthetic form which would be virtually impossible to achieve by machine manufacture.

“MINI and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation” says Louis de Fabribeckers, Head of design of Touring Superleggera. “In this car all unnecessary equipment or decoration is sacrificed, as performance is gained through lightness and efficiency of the bodywork and interior. The Italian touch is in the proportions and the typical waistline.”

There are very few gaps in the body since it is constructed from large sheets of metal. The result is a closed look that conveys high-quality elegance. The specially developed exterior paint finish Como Blue, almost liquid in effect, stands for both classic and modern style. It particularly underlines the refined Italian touch of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision. The elaborate rims and the elegant exterior mirrors in long-hole look complete with a mirror base in polished aluminium add exclusive accentuations at the side. Echoing the front section, the discreet CFRP sills underscore the sporty character of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.

Meanwhile the striking fin defines the look of the rear, adding a touch of extravagance. It gives the MINI Superleggera™ Vision a particular longitudinal dynamics while at the same time embodying the unconventional air of both MINI and Touring Superleggera. Like the “Touring” line at the side, it is modeled with enormous precision. The highlight of the flat, wide rear is the unusual lights: designed in the form of a Union Jack divided in two, they combine functionality and symbolism in a way never seen before. In this way they express the British roots of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision while at the same time emphasising the modern LED technology as already used in the new MINI. A chrome bar demarcates the rear lights at the centre of the rear, making this area a classic British jewellery icon. The CFRP diffuser rounds off the rear to the road in sporty style.

Echoing the exterior – the interior design.
The exterior and interior design of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision merge seamlessly. Only a surrounding shoulder line in polished aluminium visually separates the exterior and interior from each other. The border creates an encircling, sporty gesture that consistently perpetuates the clear elegance and generous surfaces of the exterior.

In its styling and in the look and feel of its materials, the interior design celebrates the tradition and the essence of classic coachwork construction. It reflects how the automobile was created: the essential features are quoted –  the untreated aluminium sheeting and the tube-shaped structural elements – and they are made visible in the interior by means of a high-quality interpretation. This is most striking in the dashboard. The latter is created from a single aluminium sheet and has been left in the state the automobile body would look like without a paint finish. The generously sized unpainted surfaces and the clearly visible hand craftsmanship of the dashboard go together to reflect the skilled artistry of the coachbuilders. The doors and the sporty 3-spoke steering wheel likewise reveal the traditional method of construction. The structural elements in the doors form a Union Jack, discreetly indicating the British origins of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision.

The Center Instrument in the middle of the instrument panel draws on MINI design styling and has been extended for the MINI Superleggera™ Vision to include a touch-sensitive control element and two circular instruments with metal surrounds on the right. In addition to the analog clock on the far right, the second framed instrument activates the camera which is integrated between the driver and front passenger seat. It has the function of capturing those particularly worthwhile moments on the road.

Classic and modern to equal degrees – colour and material design.

The classic materials aluminium and leather in a virtually untreated state define the reduced aesthetics of the MINI Superleggera™ Vision in the interior. Below the shoulder covered in brown leather in the classical color Sabbia, the materials are kept to the essentials. The structural elements in the doors and centre console are finished in high-quality black chrome, exclusively set apart from the aluminium surfaces and the raw, matt textured paint finish in the footwell area. This deliberately contrasting mixture of structured surfaces and high-end materials gives the MINI Superleggera™ Vision an exceptional charm. The sporty bucket seats are reminiscent of bygone MINI motor racing achievements and are covered in high-quality black leather. True to the MINI Motto “Hide & Reveal”, accentuations in Misty Magenta provide a touch of Italian flair in tongue-in-cheek MINI style in concealed spots such as the two hot air outlets under the instrument panel and inside the door openings in the structural elements of the doors.

Coachbuilding in 2014.

Since 1926, Touring Superleggera is forerunner of advanced automotive design and custom coachbuilding. The company is one of the rare firms offering the whole in-house productive cycle from the first sketch, all the way through surface engineering and structural analysis, style models and prototypes, to turn-key, low-volume production of special bodywork.

“We are delighted that MINI wanted to stimulate an independent initiative and particularly Italian design for the first time”, says Piero Mancardi, CEO of Touring Superleggera. He continues: “This project also shows MINIs attention to preserving and nurturing the skills of craftsmanship incorporated in modern coach building.”

The MINI Superleggera™ Vision epitomizes the potential of “Carrozzeria” in today’s automobile industry: blending creativity and flexibility with rigor and respect of high standards. The result is a car of classic beauty that is also state of the art.

See more photos at Press Release – MINI Superleggera™ Vision – timeless beauty that blends the traditional with the modern.


MINI in the 2014 Canadian Touring Car Championship

Team Octane

Photo by Team Octane

This weekend begins the 2014 Canadian Touring Car Championship season.  MINI teams compete in the Touring and B-Spec classes.

In the Touring Class, Team Octane consists of six drivers: Eric Lacouture (#43), Carlos Tesler-Mabe (#44), Samantha Tan (#45), Michel Sallenbach (#46), Paul Gravel (#48), and Marie-France Gagné (#49).

In B-Spec there is Stefan Yasin (#76) driving for Exclaim Motorsports.

 

2014 CTCC Schedule

Dates Track Location
May 17-18, 2014 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ontario
June 6-8, 2014 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Montreal, Quebec
June 21-22, 2014 Calabogie Motorsports Park Greater Madawaska, Ontario
July 5-6, 2014 Circuit ICAR Mirabel, Quebec
July 26-27, 2014 Shannonville Motorsport Park Shannonville, Ontario
August 7-10, 2014 Grand Prix Trois-Rivieres Trois-Rivières, Quebec
August 30-31, 2014 Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Bowmanville, Ontario

Follow the Teams and Drivers

Canadian Touring Car Championship website and Facebook page.

Download the 2014 CTCC Android App with Live Race Mapping, Record Book, Social Media connectivity, and more.

Visit the Team Octane Facebook page.

Visit Stefan Yasin’s Facebook page.


worldwide MINI sales for April 2014

MINI F56

Despite MINI sales being much lower for 2014, BMW Group is having a record year so far.

From BMW Group PressClub Global:

April saw 20,917 MINIs delivered to customers (prev. yr. 24,583/ -14.9%). Year-to-date sales are down 13.2% with 78,785 units sold (prev. yr. 90,739). This expected decrease in sales is due to the recent model change in the core model MINI Hatch. The strong interest customers are showing in the new MINI is expected to be reflected in the retail figures from summer onwards.

April 2014 April 2013 change year-to-date 2014 year-to-date 2013 change
20,917 24,583 -14.9% 78,785 90,739 -13.2%

 

See all MINI sales worldwide by month.


worldwide MINI sales by model for Q1

worldwide MINI sales by model for Q1

We have had several requests for global MINI sales figures by model.  BMW publishes these figures quarterly and today we have the sales figures for Quarter 1 of 2014.

From BMW Group Quarterly Report – Q1:

Third generation of the MINI launched

 

The market introduction of the new MINI Hatch model in March 2014 heralds the third generation of the MINI.  The model change brought MINI Hatch sales volume figures down to 17,860 units (2013: 29,519 units; – 39.5 %).  A total of 25,108 units of the MINI Countryman were delivered in the first quarter of the year (2013: 23,559 units;
+ 6.6 %).

[Source: BMW Group Quarterly Report to 31 March 2014]


MINI USA sales for April 2014

 

MINI USA sales for April 2014

From BMW Group PressClub USA:

MINI Brand Sales

For April, MINI USA reported 4,390 automobiles, a decrease of 24.1 percent from the 5,786 automobiles sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, MINI USA reported a total of 13,047 automobiles, a decrease of 34.2 percent from the 19,841 automobiles sold in the first four months of 2013.

 

MINI Pre-Owned Vehicles – best April ever

In April, MINI used automobiles (including MINI NEXT certified pre-owned) reported sales of 2,157 automobiles, an increase of 31.8 percent from the 1,637 automobiles sold in April, 2013. Year-to-date, MINI used automobiles (including MINI NEXT certified pre-owned) reported sales of 8,133 automobiles, an increase of 25.5 percent from the 6,483 automobiles sold in the same four months of 2013.

 

April 2014 April 2013 change year-to-date 2014 year-to-date 2013 change
4,390 5,786 -24.1% 13,047 19,841 -34.2%

See MINI sales in the USA by month.