Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The much anticipated revival of the new MINI Cooper about 6 years ago did not disappoint the automotive industry as the car had won many design awards and earned favorable consumer reviews on a global scale.
The Cooper was designed by an American by the name of Frank Stephenson, manufactured by BMW and assembled in Oxford, UK. Stephenson has since moved on to Ferrari-Maserati and currently to Fiat-Lancia.
I ordered the orange version, exclusive to the convertible, in mid April 2005 and did not receive the car until about 2 ½ months later. It was a long wait where the MINI traveled by ship from Oxford to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and then by train to Vancouver, BC.
Complicated with some sunny weather, the last few weeks of the wait was unbearable, where I constantly phoned the local MINI Richmond dealership probing where my car was. In fact, the dealership informed me that they had been asked by some eager customers if they knew map coordinates of their orders so that it can be tracked on their GPS system, which the dealership had no knowledge of such coordinates. Then the last days saw my MINI stranded in a rail car at a nearby train yard with other deliveries. How’s that for a tattoo of the MINI Cooper brand in the psyche of the consumer?
Especially with the top down, the Cooper drive is exhilarating— even provides great views of SUVs' under carriages. It’s slightly over 2,500lbs weight make the car a solid, stable drive at 90mph (have not reached the century mark yet). The ragtop can automatically open in 15 seconds, and is currently the only mass- production convertible in the market with a sunroof—the ragtop can have about a 16” opening prior to fully being opened.
The 170+hp, hardtop Cooper S edition is faster than my 115hp ragtop; however, they are both the same price and I chose sun over speed. There is also a John Cooper Works edition at around 210+hp, but would add about a $10k price tag.
The advertising campaign in Canada was created by Taxi, where the agency created award-winning executions, including print headlines such as “Parks Faster Than A Ferrari” and “Screw Point B”.
The Cooper not only stands out in traffic, but it also comes with a unique subculture with a wide target market: catering to elders who once owned the original Coopers and of course the younger demographics, and others in between.