While not the highest-mileage car on the road, the little MINI has got style to go with its 37mpg (U.S.). Maybe that's why MINI USA is announcing that Americans are showing more interest in MINI than ever before. Visitors to the MINIUSA website were up almost 89 percent in May compared to a year ago. People are doing more than looking, too, with sales in the first five months of 2008 up 36 percent compared to January-May of 2007. MINI USA's vice president Jim McDowell said in a statement (available after the jump) that a lot of new people "who haven't thought about a MINI before are checking us out. We're thrilled to have them - and hope they join those of us who discovered a long time ago that you can have a hip, cool car that's fun to drive - and still save at the pump." Sure, gas prices might have something to do with this, but let's not discount the power of the MINI Weinermobile.

Press Release:

RISING GAS PRICES SPARK HISTORIC INTEREST IN MINI

MINIUSA.COM Experiences Unprecedented 88.9% Increase in Traffic as Americans Look to MINImize Their Gas Intake with the Coolest Small Car on the Market

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 12, 2008... In the wake of skyrocketing gas prices, MINI USA has received more than 920,000 visits to its website, MINIUSA.com, in the month of May – a record 88.9% increase from May 2007. MINI, which established the premium small car segment and has nearly doubled its sales over the last six years since its launch in the U.S. , is now the subject of unprecedented consumer interest as Americans look to smaller, more fuel efficient rides to help ease the pain at the gas pump.

The greater interest has already begun to result in increased sales for the coolest small car on the market - for the first five months of 2008, which included the highly successful launch of the MINI Clubman, MINI has experienced a 36% increase in sales compared with the same period a year ago.

"MINI has always been proud of its incredible fuel efficiency - we get 37 miles to the gallon, which is as good as most hybrids - and it has certainly been one of the reasons people choose to drive our cars," said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. "What we're finding is that literally hundreds of thousands of people who haven't thought about a MINI before are checking us out. We're thrilled to have them - and hope they join those of us who discovered a long time ago that you can have a hip, cool car that's fun to drive - and still save at the pump. The world is becoming more MINI every day."

This weekend, hundreds of MINI owners and their MINIs will hit the road for some major fun when MINI Takes the States 2008 kicks off in Miami . The MINI tour will hit four cities this summer – Miami , Boston , Chicago and Los Angeles . In each city, there will be two days of action-packed events and activities, including an autocross, go-kart racing, rock climbing, a fun zone, a mountain bike stunt show, a car wash and more. Rolling Stone magazine, the number one pop culture reference, will also present performances by leading musical acts, including Michelle Branch and Blues Traveler, which are sure to rock the crowd. MINI Takes the States celebrates the spirit of the MINI brand in the U.S. , and fosters a sense of community among a growing group of passionate owners and enthusiasts.

MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States , MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, an industrial design firm in California ; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all Z4 models, X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sport Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car centers, 335 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 142 BMW motorcycle retailers, 82 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake , New Jersey .

[Source: MINI]

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