Mini: Company History, Current Models, Interesting Facts ...


Even though the Mini brand has been passed around a bit – originally having been produced by BMC and then being revived by BMW, it has forever maintained it’s completely unique and original style. Mini has held in popularity across the US and North America since it was first introduced for its stature, style and economy and it doesn’t appear that the love for and devotion to this pint sized auto will go away any time soon.

Company History

The first Mini hit the streets in the UK back in 1959 and the car enjoyed plenty of success in Europe for more than four decades. The original Mini had a much shorter run on US soil, being sold from 1962 through 1968 before being put on hiatus due to new emissions standards.

Mini was originally produced by the British Motor Corporation and manufactured in England. After the initial model, the two door Mark I, the Mini was produced in a small handful of variations by BMC including the Mark II, Mark III and the Clubman. Included among the variations were Mini versions of a pick-up and a jeep/SUV style vehicle (the Mini Moke).

In the mid ‘90’s Mini was acquired through purchase by the world renowned luxury auto brand BMW. BMW continued producing the Mini until 2000 before the popular brand took a brief break. BMW started production again re-launched the new and improved version of the Mini – a front wheel drive hatch back that went on sale in Europe and in the US in 2002.

Flagship Model

Though there have been some incredible innovations along the way when it comes to Mini and Mini Cooper models – it is the original inspiration that continues to stand as the company’s flagship model.

The Mini Cooper Hardtop 2 Door is more modern, with improved handling and improved performance, but it still has the same sense of style that the original model displayed way back in 1959. The tiny 2 door boasts a surprising amount of passenger and storage room, excellent fuel economy, a great driving experience and an unmatched look.

Current Models

Mini offers eight different models – not surprisingly, all fall into the compact classification. The 2 Door Hardtop and 4 Door Hardtop are both based on and rooted in the original and still popular design. The Countryman and Paceman are 4 wheel drive options – the Countryman akin to an SUV and the Paceman designed for a little more power. The Cooper Convertible and Roadster are designed for those who prefer to cruise in comfort with the top down and the Coupe and John Cooper Works are designed for those who have a bit of a need for speed and who crave a high performance ride.

Previous Models

Since the first Mini hit the market just before 1960 the brand has been pretty focused in their efforts. Consumers worldwide really enjoyed the unique style of the Mini and the brand has maintained a fairly narrow range of models produced, even after major auto manufacturer BMW took over the reins.

The Mark I through the Mark VII all featured similar properties and the basis of design that had made consumers fall in love with the brand upon launch. This two door style was produced with great success from 1959 until the brand was briefly put on hold in 2000.

The Cooper and Cooper S were sportier, more performance versions of the Mini that had success in the 60’s and 70’s and then again resurged in the ‘90’s.

The Mini Moke, a boxy cross between a jeep and a sport utility had a good run in Europe for nearly three decades but never saw a demand to be brought over into North America and there were versions of both a pick-up truck and a van produced from the early 1960’s through the mid 1980s.

Since BMW re-launched the brand the majority of models introduced have held in popularity. Only the Clubman estate car and Clubvan haven’t enjoyed a high enough demand to make it into the production line for the coming year.

Interesting Facts

Despite having a fairly brief run in the US and North America under original manufacturing (the origin Mini produced by BMC was only available in the US from 1962 until 1968), the car managed to make a serious impact. In 1999, before BMWs reboot and with limited availability in the US Mini was still voted as the second most influential auto of the 20th century. In addition to this honor, the Mini has also taken home accolades from popular auto magazines for being the “Car of the Century” and the “Number One Classic Car of All Time.”

The Cooper in Mini Cooper comes from the brands affiliation with prominent auto racing personality John Cooper. Despite the car’s small stature and seemingly low horsepower, are very popular among racers and have had some profound success in the world of motorsports.

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