Now, five years later, the automaker has sold 800,000 cars worldwide in what has been an astounding success story.
With British charm backed by German engineering, the BMW-owned MINI brand has struck a chord with just about everyone from suburban moms to Dale Jr. himself. MINI's minions are a diverse bunch, indeed.
Globally, eight models are currently available: MINI One, MINI One D, MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S, MINI One Convertible, MINI Cooper Convertible, MINI Cooper S Convertible and MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit. Obviously, not all models are available in all markets.
For the North Americans scratching their heads right about now wondering, "What's a MINI One?" it's a MINI with a smaller, more economical powerplant and gaudy fuel economy numbers. (Note to BMW: there's probably a healthy market for the MINI One in the States.)
With so many legitimately different vehicles housed in the same tidy, attractive little package, it's no wonder that 800,000 have been sold. If the MINI's configuration works for you (for some, it's admittedly too small), then they probably have a car that will suit your driving needs perfectly. Best of all, whether your're going for economy or performance, you never have to compromise your sense of style.
(Press release after the jump)
MINI is 5!
MINI went on sale five years ago this week, and 100 awards later has proven to be the success story of the decade....
This week MINI will reach its fifth anniversary since the car first went on sale on Saturday 7 July 2001. The launch created a storm and the car introduced a new level of quality to the small car market. MINI became an instant global success.
Andy Hearn, MINI UK General Manager, said: "MINI's instant UK hit has been mirrored around the world, from South Korea to Spain, the US to China. The car's design, great driving dynamics and ownership experience set it apart from the competition. Five years on, MINI is still winning group tests against new competitors, and quality and safety are second-to-none."
Dr Anton Heiss, Managing Director BMW Group Plant Oxford, said: "It is not just the high quality of vehicles produced here but also the customer focus and production flexibility that have played such a major role in the car's success. Year-on-year we have produced record production figures. The 100 million pound investment programme currently underway will allow us to increase production flexibility and capacity further and meet the growing worldwide demand for MINI."
- Over 800,000 have sold around the globe in over 70 markets.
- Eight models in the range: MINI One, MINI One D, MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S, MINI One Convertible, MINI Cooper Convertible, MINI Cooper S Convertible and MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit.
- A record 44,770 were sold in the UK last year.
- UK is still the most popular market for MINI, with America and Germany taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
- All MINIs are built at Plant Oxford. A record 200,119 were produced last year. Original predictions for production were 100,000 a year!
- Plant Oxford employs 4,500 people; an increase of 2000 since the first MINI rolled off the production line. All future MINI petrol engines will come from BMW Plant Hams Hall, based in the Midlands. BMW Group Plant Swindon supplies body panels for the MINI.
- Between 2000-07, £380 million will have been invested in Plant Oxford. MINI is now the 3rd largest car manufacturer in the UK.
- MINI will be present at the British International Motor Show later this month and making two UK debuts. The MINI GP and MINI Concept London. The concept MINI is a modern interpretation of the Mini Traveller of the 1960s and a version based on the concept has been confirmed for production within the next three years.
- MINI has been awarded well over 100 awards since 2001. From titles including Top Gear, The Sun, The Sunday Times, Car, Autocar, Auto Express and What Car? In 2003, MINI was the first British-built car to win 'North American Car of the Year'.
- More Pure Silver MINIs have been chosen than any other colour in the UK since 2001.
- 300 options and accessories are available for customers to personalise their cars. Statistically, only two out of 100,000 MINIs produced at Plant Oxford will ever be exactly the same due to the number of options available.