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History of MINI

The MINI line was borne out of a unique, small car launched by British Motor Corporation. After its inception in 1959, the MINI became property of British Motor Holdings, which subsequently merged with Leyland Motors to form British Leyland. It wasn’t until 1969 that the MINI gained notoriety as its own marquee. British Leyland was eventually broken up, and the Rover Group (which at that point included Mini) was acquired by British Aerospace in 1988. The Rover Group was broken up by BMW in 2000, though the Mini remained. Now a marquee under the ownership of BMW, the MINI line encompasses a range of vehicles including four-door and crossover varieties in addition to the standard two-door trim.

MINI’s most recent re-imagination spawned from BMW’s insistence in the late 1990’s to create a revitalized production line of the iconic car. The new generation was released in July of 2001 to immediate success and pop culture stardom. The product was so successful that in 2005 BMW announced it would be dropping £100 million into the existing MINI plant in Oxford, UK. The investment created more than 200 jobs and increased production output by 20 percent. With the cars selling in big numbers across several continents, the design team and executive leadership decided to expand the line.

Due to an increase in demand, BMW announced at the 2011 North American International Auto Show that there would be two new two-door crossover MINI vehicles that elaborate on the design of the original Mini Paceman concept. Coupe versions were staged for production in the 2011 calendar year, with a roadster in 2012. The £100 million investment in 2005 was dwarfed by a £500 million investment announced in June of 2011. This new money would be allotted to the expansion of the MINI line to seven models over a span of three years.

The original two-door MINI sold in excess of 5.3 million units, many of which are still on the road. Currently, annual delivery of MINIs exceeds 200,000, with the majority being the MINI Hatch/Hardtop. In 2009, the MINI broke into Britain’s top 10 selling cars list. The brand’s largest market is currently the United States, though the United Kingdom and Germany still see solid annual increases in sales. Marketing for the MINI has been largely responsible for its high brand visibility. Unique and contemporary approaches to marketing have helped to keep the line appealing to virtually every driver in the market to buy a car.