© 2006 NMOC
1959-2000: Mini Classic
Introduced in 1959 the classic Mini was one of the most influential designs of the last century. It was voted Autocar "Car of The Century" - due to the multitude of changes it bought about.
From the basic saloon design, many variations were developed by the factory and by others - estate cars, pickups, convertibles, mokes and of course the legendary Cooper. The Mini Cooper was developed by John Cooper, a famous racing car constructor, after having driven the basic car and being highly impressed by its handling. The Mini Cooper was a major player in the race and rally scene of the 1960's.
Mini drivers (both past and present) will find themselves in good company. Here are just a few famous Mini owners:
2001 and beyond: MINI
From the Summer of 2000, marketing activity for the new MINI went into overdrive. After years of admitting that they were to produce a new 'Mini' BMW now had to convince its clientele that the wait had been worthwhile. It needed to be simple and effective. Right from the start BMW wanted the world to know that this was not just another new car but the rebirth of a legend; it was a 'proper' replacement for the 41 year old Mini. It was decided that the new Mini was to develop its own brand which BMW have achieved and very effectively as well.
MINI was not badged with the BMW emblem many Mini enthusiasts are pleased to say - the new Mini had to start afresh with its own stamp of individuality so as to create as much enthusiasm as possible for the new car. The car was to become a brand within a brand with separate service departments and managers looking after the entire project.
The big push towards the launch came in the early Autumn of 2000. The car came into public view for the first time as planned in 1997 despite many traumas both engineering and financially. At last all the rumours were laid to rest, some were confirmed and some written off completely. There was to be a basic vehicle called One and a Cooper with different levels of power output but no sign of the 1.4 litre engine which had been suggested for so long. The size of the car was announced as well.
We all knew for some time that the new car was going to be much larger than the classic Mini, but it was not known by how much. The new car was not only 12% longer and 265% more powerful but also 66% heavier and 45% more volume than before. Not so Mini as before!
The launch was much quieter than expected. The Mini had always been a symbol of fun, glamour and cheekiness but unveiling the new BMW Mini emphasised its branding, rebirth and technical virtues all subdued behind the seriousness of the occasion.. We had all been waiting so long for this occasion but not a lot came as much of a surprise as so much had been officially or unofficially in the press months before the car was real. The only real surprise was the announcement by BMW that they were already considering development of other types including the new convertible that we will soon to be seeing on our roads, but nothing much was to be seen or heard over the next couple of years. Despite the announcement of the car in 2000 we were unable to buy until July 2001 and the only model available was the One and months after that the Cooper. The exterior style was no surprise as so many spy photographs had been printed in the press over the previous few years while the car was being developed.
body style at the front of the vehicle almost replicates that of the
original Classic Mini which was intentional as BMW felt that customers
need to be able to rely on the shape and feel of a brand. And while
a new shape of a popular brand of anything must not be close to the
older one, neither should it be too far away.
Who is a MINI customer?
One of the first things that the MINI marketing team discovered is that their clientele is different from people shopping for BMWs. The price appealed to a younger buyer more than the typical BMW customer, but there is more to the MINIs appeal than a low price.
To appeal to the tech-savy nature of Mini enthusiasts, state of the art programs such as Macromedia Flash 4.0 and Virtual 3D viewers are intrinsic elements of the website that keep interest levels high by providing informative and entertaining diversions, including hidden messages and other surprised along with detours that lead to other parts of the website. A build your own MINI section provided comprehensive product and pricing information so that prospective MINI customers would be well prepared when it came the time to visit the showroom.