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Slump in Sales Could Drive Minis to BMW Dealerships

Miniature sales numbers could soon force Minis, which currently have their own dealerships, to share space with BMWs.

The Mini marque, which is owned by BMW, has had stand-alone Mini stores since 2008 as part of its efforts to maintain a unique, independent image. Today, there are 127 Mini stores. Mini dealerships, though, appear to be struggling to sustain this independent dealership model due to lower-than-expected sales numbers.

Mini projected it would have 100,000 in annual sales by 2017, but it hasn’t yet topped 66,500, a number it reached in 2013. The brand’s sales decreased by 10 percent in 2017, and through the first 10 months of 2018, Mini sold only 37,359 cars.

This has led some Mini dealers to request an integration with nearby BMW dealerships to reduce overhead costs and increase efficiency. Sharing costs associated with real estate and operations could help the brand stay afloat.

“We want to focus on dealer profitability so that they are properly represented in the marketplace,” Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas, told Automotive News.

BMW and Mini, however, want to ensure brand differentiation should the two merge dealerships. To accomplish this, they’re considering creating separate Mini showrooms at BMW dealership locations. Dedicated Mini salespeople and service workers would staff these showrooms. Mini is also working with some dealers to reduce their requirements for showroom space to facilitate the move.

Mini has also indicated that it’s exploring other ways to support dealerships that would remain independent.

Challenges Facing Mini

The sales slump is the primary challenge facing Mini, but another issue is the lack of new product. Mini introduced the redesigned Countryman in spring 2017 and a plug-in hybrid variant later that year. A full-electric model is expected to arrive next year, but some Mini dealers have expressed worries that there isn’t enough new product on the horizon to keep customers interested.

“We’re in a development phase,” Felbermair said. “There’s a number of longer range projects that you will see come to fruition.”

Some dealers have also expressed concerns about a lack of consumer awareness caused by inadequate marketing funds.

Perhaps the biggest threat, though, is the fact that the company hasn’t been able to convince Americans to buy premium small cars. The U.S. market for SUVs and light trucks is strong, but that of premium compact cars continues to struggle. Mini also hasn’t been able to attract the young drivers it originally that would be its core audience.

“As a dealer and a manufacturer you have a vision of where the brand is going, and you have to prepare for it,” Jason Willis, a member of the Mini National Dealer Council, told Automotive News. “In this case, the vision now isn’t what it was when some of these stores were built.”

However, BMW and Mini still have hope that things will turn around. The marque is going through a bit of a rough patch that’s left it unable to maintain its independent dealership model. Although the company hasn’t made a final decision yet, reducing costs by moving in with BMW dealers may help Mini hold on until conditions improve.

Check Out the BMW M5 Competition Package

There’s been a lot of news about the M5 Competition, but in case you missed it, we have you covered.

You can’t look at a new BMW without at least glancing over all the fantastic performance packages and accessories you can add on to your new car. The newest and perhaps the most exciting of these packages is the Competition Package for the new M5 sedan. Let’s take a look at the already-beefy M5 and what this package has to offer.

The BMW M5

This luxury sedan is already a beast even by BMW’s standards. The 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine cranks out a whopping 600 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. While the newest models may have lost some fans because of the automatic transmission with no manual option, there are still plenty of drivers waiting for the newest incarnation of this powerful little sedan to roll off the assembly line.

Right out of the factory, this car can make it from zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds and can pull a quarter-mile in 10.9 seconds at 129 miles per hour. It comes with all-wheel-drive but can easily be switched into rear-wheel-drive mode with the push of a button, though rear-wheel-drive does knock a couple of seconds off its 0-60 and quarter-mile times.

With adjustable suspension modes, this sedan is just as much at home on the track as it is during your morning commute.

The Competition Package

Adding a good engine treatment can be a great way to squeeze a few extra horses out of nearly any engine, even one as powerful as the V8 under the hood of the M5. If 600 horsepower just isn’t enough for you, though, waiting for the new Competition Package was the best thing you could have done.

This package adds 25 more horsepower and 37 extra lb.-ft. of torque to the already-powerful engine. It also includes a firmer suspension — which can still be adjusted to fit your driving needs — and y-spoke alloy wheels to stand up to any punishment on or off the track.

This package also includes a Sports Exhaust. While it isn’t going to be the full titanium exhaust used on older models, it will reportedly be louder and offer more cracks that the titanium pipes, so we’ll have to see how the Competition Package M5 sounds out on the track.

Of course, no BMW package is complete without its branding — and you’ll see that in the door sills, rear badging, logos and engine cover.

One thing this package doesn’t include is BMW’s carbon ceramic brakes, which came as a surprise to many fans. While you can still add these to your M5 for an additional cost, leaving them off does take roughly 50 pounds off the car’s overall weight. It’s entirely up to you.

You might find it’s totally worth the cost for a few extra ponies under the hood and some snazzy additions to an already-fantastic little sedan.

Guy Crashes His BMW While Trying to Impress His Date

If your friends accused you of only trying to impress women when you picked up your BMW, you’re not the first. Bradley Van Outen was hoping the roundel would come through for him on his first date with Carrie-Anne Knox. Unfortunately, all he did was ruin a nice car and injure an innocent woman.

Reckless Driving Only the Start

Van Outen spun the BMW once and then lost control, which led to their impact with a tree. Following the crash, the driver dragged Knox from the car by her broken arm, putting her in severe pain. Even worse, he insisted on fleeing the scene, due to his suspended license. Knox fainted, and her would-be date left her in the care of a stranger on a park bench.

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