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European MINI dealers are being asked to distinguish their stores from the BMW brand by creating a separate showroom for sell the British/Bavarian small-car. This entails new main entrances, and dedicated reception and service desks. While most of the dealers in the United States currently operate in this manner, most European retailers still share space with BMW. If dealers don't move enough volume to justify the investment, they will be dropped. In 2007, there were about 750 MINI retailers in Europe. That number is expected to fall to about 650 by the end of this year (worldwide, MINI has about 1,500 dealers in 70 countries). Unlike nearly all other automakers who are experiencing a sales slump, MINI's global sales are reportedly up more than 12 percent for the first nine months of 2008 -- no doubt credited to their diminutive size and fuel efficient engines.

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[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]