It’s good to know that, if you want a full-scale punch up in the comments section of AROnline, all you need to do is post a news story about MG Motor UK or MINI, or post a picture of a car wearing overseas number plates. It’s not as if I deliberately want to poke the readership with a stick, you understand, but sometimes I do struggle to grasp some of the objections that we hear – and, how in 15 years of running this website, they really don’t change very much.
So it’s MINI that I’m focusing my attention on here. Well, actually, I’m not so much focusing my attention on the car, but on a comment recently posted in the good news story about the F56’s latest award-winning performance in the Sunday Times. Basically, the Hatch is selling reasonably well, and that means continued prosperity for the factory, and those workers in Oxford, whose livelihoods depend upon it.
So, imagine my surprise, when comment number one – after a long silence, amounted to ‘hey, guys, this is good news, why aren’t you happy?’
To which the response was: ‘Well, it’s not a Mini, it’s not a car with any connection at all with AR (except the ground underneath the factory) and it’s a piece of appalling design with no space inside coupled with appalling obesity, weighing nearly as much as a Jaguar Mk2 did in the 1960s. Perhaps those are just three reasons why not much attention is paid to it on this site?’
My own take has been one of support over the years. Parking the circumstances behind the MINI’s ownership changes in 1994-2000, I think that, as the custodians of the marque, BMW have done a pretty good job with it. The company took the view that it couldn’t reinvent the small car in the way the original did, so why not just evolve it in a way that reflects how Porsche did with the 911. And arguably, the current F56-generation MINI is Porsche’s 996. We’ll see how it plays from here.
Anyway, I thought I’d highlight Dan Entwisle’s comment on the matter, as I think it clearly demonstrates the site’s (and many of its readers’) position far better than I could. I look forward to the comments. Enjoy!
Like a few here I didn’t like the MINI. Mind you, I have reservations about the original Mini. A brilliant concept in 1959, It was never really developed or allowed to evolve beyond that. Why no hatchback? Why no factory soft top? Why no five doors? The fact that the last Minis made weren’t really that much different from those made 40 years before shouldn’t be seen as something to celebrate. A bit like another BL car I like but which went 20-odd years without significant development – Range Rover.
I’ve been looking again at the modern MINI recently, and I am now a convert. The car is spot on for so many people from so many walks of life, from two-seat Roadsters through Supermini territory to small SUVs. What BMW has done with the brand and the original Rover concept has been outstanding. What was said above about the brand being a new Austin or Morris is absolutely right.
As for complaints the cars are huge these days, [I say] get over it. A friend came over recently in his new Fiesta. It’s bigger – way bigger – than Fiestas of old – just like most cars are compared to their predecessors. Comparing a MINI to a 1960s Jag is just daft – [they’re] 60 years apart. That’s like criticising a Typhoon jet for being heavier than a Hurricane. I would be quite worried if a modern MINI was built to the same standards as a Browns Lane product from the days when John Profumo was giving Christine Keeler the benefit of ministerial privilege.
I love ARG, BL, MGR, BMC (or whatever acronym you choose) cars – the good and the bad. Hell, I even own one. But why hate a successful British-made car because it doesn’t appeal to you? I don’t like Washington-built Nissans much, but I’m glad they are built, glad to see vast car carriers exporting them by the thousand from the River Tyne. It’s not the last half of the 20th century anymore. Avro don’t build Vulcans, trains are made in the UK by Japanese TV manufacturers.
Time to move on and support the UK automotive success story that is MINI.