2009 Mini Cooper S Convertible – Click above for high-res image gallery
The next 18 months will be huge for BMW's MINI brand. Execs are looking for big sales increases by 2011, and the fuel efficient little car company is adding 17 dealerships to its retail network in that time frame to help get the job done. The additional dealerships will predominantly go to urban areas that don't currently have a MINI presence, bringing the total figure to 100 dealerships in the States. MINI is looking for a "double digit increase" from 2008's record 54,077 U.S. sales by 2011; a number that is impressive considering the current state of industry sales, but more likely due to the addition of a new model line (Clubman) as much as anything else. With more dealers in the fold, the lofty sales goals ought to be attainable, though, provided the nation's economy improves.
The first new dealer network, which comes online later this year, will be in Birmingham, Alabama. The next 18 months will see still more openings in urban hotspots like Austin, Texas and Seattle, Washington. For a complete list of new locations, hit the jump to read the press release.
MINI USA TO EXPAND U.S. DEALERSHIPS BY 20 PERCENT TO SUPPORT DOUBLE DIGIT SALES GROWTH TARGETS
Woodcliff Lake, NJ - June 22, 2009... MINI USA has confirmed its intention to expand its 83-strong American dealer network by 20 percent during the next 18 months to a total of 100 outlets across the country.
Most of the additional 17 MINI dealerships will be located in cities or areas that will be new markets for the brand.
Speaking at a New York City meeting, MINI USA Vice President Jim McDowell revealed: "Starting in 2011, our aim is to raise MINI sales by a 'double-digit' percentage compared with last year's total of 54,077 cars delivered and this will correspond with a substantial expansion of our network coverage.
"We are celebrating a major landmark for MINI this year, its 50th Birthday, and we are pleased to announce plans for another significant milestone for the brand – the development of our national dealer network to 100 outlets," he added.
"We are pleased to be in a position to dramatically increase our U.S. dealerships. I have often said that the world is becoming more MINI every day, and I believe that that sentiment is true, now more than ever, as consumer tastes shift decidedly to cars that offer tremendous value. Our cars are not only fuel efficient, and offer great value, but they also provide a fun and dynamic motoring experience and are packed with personality."
The first of the new dealers to become operational this year will be MINI of Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama. Speaking of the dealership's appointment to the MINI USA network, General Manager Mark Gerloff said: "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to represent such a stylish and iconic brand in Alabama, and be given the opportunity to bring the unique attributes and heritage of MINI to our customers."
In addition to Birmingham, Alabama, MINI will open dealerships in the following cities: Pensacola, Florida; Alexandria, Virginia; Austin, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Fort Myers, Florida; El Paso, Texas; Ontario, California; Louisville, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Loveland, Colorado; Madison, Wisconsin; Mount Laurel, New Jersey; Allentown, Pennsylvania; San Diego, California and Tempe, Arizona.
Industry sales in the US this year have recorded a 37 percent decline through May, but MINI continues to outperform its competition and its market share continues to increase despite a sales decline over 2008.