The MINI Cooper is popular here in the states, and enthusiasts are fiercely loyal to their European models with built-in fun and personality. What many car-buying Americans may not know is the company itself is actually called MINI and has ties to BMW. Today, we’ll introduce you to the MINI phenomenon, and explore more about the automaker, including how it’s connected with BMW.
A common brand misconception
The MINI Cooper may be our first taste of what MINI had to offer Americans. This might also be the reason why there is a common misconception that the automaker’s name is MINI Cooper.
But, in fact, the company is called MINI and offers more than just the Cooper and Cooper S. There is more to this brand than the belief that there are two MINI Coopers — a small MINI Cooper and a large MINI Cooper (Countryman or Clubman).
Born British and popular in Europe
Before consumers got excited about MINI here in the U.S., the British and European markets enjoyed the MINI models first. Originally, MINI was a model name (Austin MINI and Morris MINI) sold under differing brands owned by British Leyland.
It was post World War II (1957), and gas prices were soaring. MINI answered the call and delivered a capable, fuel-efficient car for everyone. The MINI was born and became a fan-favorite in 1959. Later, British Leyland became Rover Group, and the MINI began exploring different models.
Is MINI owned by BMW?
Many wonder if MINI is a British company or a German one. While it started as a post-war, British phenomenon, as of today, it is actually a German company. BMW Group bought the Rover Group in the mid-late ’90s and began separating brands.
BMW Group kept MINI as its own brand and still owns the company today. MINI landed here in the states in 2002, and with hints of BMW styling and features, it has been an iconic brand here ever since. Whether you prefer the two-door hatchback, the convertible, or the Countryman crossover, there is a personality-packed MINI variation for everyone.
MINI’s research and development all come from the BMW Headquarters in Munich, Germany. However, all MINI models dare produced in one of two manufacturing plants. The global market of MINIs comes from either the Cowley, Oxford England plant, or the VDL Nedcar plant in Born, Netherlands.
What’s new in 2020 for MINI?
Dealers are excited, though, for 2020, with the latest MINI model set to launch soon. The 2020 MINI Cooper SE is all-electric, and consumers are ‘hand raising’ and chomping at the bit to get theirs. Jason Willis, MINI National Dealer Council chairman, says, “MINI buyers are excited.”
The iconic MINI is a blend of the MINI Cooper hardtop and the BMW i3s. Coupled with the federal tax credit of potentially up to $7,500, the price tag makes it even more appealing to enthusiasts.
With a long, rich history of designing smart and capable cars, MINI knows how to give the consumers what they want. Backed by BMW R&D, some suggest MINI is better than ever.
People are craving electric vehicles, and many automakers are jumping on board to race to market with EV model options. The MINI Cooper SE may be the answer car buyers want, and the leg-up the MINI dealers need this year. Even if you’re not a proud owner of one of these sporty and fun cars, it’s hard not to recognize and respect what MINI can do.