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MINI Cooper Prices Paid and Buying Experience

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  • Hi everybody,

    Two pricing questions... one is, I went to the San Francisco MINI dealer and they are charging $1500 over the base model, or $2500 over the S... just 'cause they can. Has anybody been able to bargain their way out of this? Or any experiences buying out of state in order to avoid this mark up?

    Secondly, I've read a bit about the 2007's coming out. Does anybody know if the new base model (the 150 hp one) will be more expensive than the current base model? My guess would be yes, but I'd love some hard numbers to help me figure out when to put in an order.

    One other general question would be feedback about the cost and frequency of repairs on newer MINIs. It sounds like the older ones have required a lot more repairs. In general, are the repairs significantly more expensive than other cars?

    Thanks!
    Chloe
  • ncowlingncowling Posts: 1
    hey markjenn, I'm in the DFW area and looking to get a new Mini. How was your experience at Moritz? Did you research other places, and decide on them?
  • Hi Chloe,

    I've been looking at new Minis, too. I'm in Memphis and there is one dealership here. There's also one in Nashville. They sell the Cooper at $17,450, which I believe is the base price. Then there is the cost for whatever add-ons are already on the car, then whatever the dealer adds. However, they said I can avoid that by "building my own" online and then ordering it through them. They won't mark it up. However, they said they will not deal on the base price the way that other brands (toyota, etc.) will. So, if you take the base and then add only what you want, the car can stay under $20k, which is what I'm trying to do.

    You should check to see if you can do that in SF without the mark up. I lived out there, but didn't shop for a Mini while I was there. Ordering takes about 6-8 weeks, but in the scheme of saving, that's not all that long. The Memphis dealer (Roadshow Mini) actually mentioned that the dealers in California do charge more because they can get it. They also said that sometimes they have a guy that comes and buys from them and then takes the cars to California to sell at mark them up. I don't know if that's true or not.

    Re: the 2007... I also heard some information about that. Apparently the design is top secret and no one has seen it, and I don't think there's any pricing info. either. The dealer said Mini is going to stop taking orders for 2006 in the next couple of months (Sept./Oct?) because Mini wants to shut the factory to retool for the 2007 production line. That probably means some delays in getting 2007 cars. Also, even though this will be a second generation Mini, it will be a "first-year" production of the "new" model. From what I've always heard and read, 1st year productions tend to have issues. Again, this is not a "brand new" production, but a different production of the Mini.

    In talking to people about repairs, the consensus seems to be that they are more expensive than other cars. It is, essentially, a BMW product, and BMWs tend to be more expensive. That is why I want to buy a new Mini, not a used one, so that I have the warranty. In fact I passed on a pretty good priced 2002 because it was out of warranty and probably would have had repair issues.

    But, even general maintenance not covered by the warranty is pricey. An oil change can cost anywhere between $80-120, depending on whether you take it to the dealer or not. However, the Mini dealer says that you only have to do oil changes every 12k-15k miles. My friend who owns one recommends every 10k. So, you're not paying for oil changes as often, but you are paying more when you do. Replacing brakes all around is apparently about $700, which is not cheap. So, yes, repairs are expensive. But, then again, the cars are fun to drive.

    Two other things... the run-flat tires that come on some are a great idea... but more expensive to replace than regular tires, I believe. Also, I think the Cooper S requires premium gas, which is more expensive. I'm not sure if the Cooper does, but it is probably recommended.

    One positive note... I checked with my insurance and the Mini doesn't seem to be any more expensive, at least not in Tennessee. I don't think the cars are considered "suped-up sports cars" and their crash test ratings are very good.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

    Max
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Max,

    Above all, get the car you want. A Honda Fit may be a great car for the money, but life's too short to own a great car that you don't like.

    Yes, the reason Mini's are holding value is because they're well-regarded and popular. Certainly if you were only keeping a car for a year or two, then a relatively high price paid now would be recouped to some extent when you sell, so you could come out Okay. But while I don't expect used Mini prices to "crash", I do except they'll trend down quite a bit from their current hyper-inflated values. My comment is mostly that a used Mini gets you a bit of the worst of both worlds: a new car price, no new-car warranty, and used car repairs.

    Sorry, but I have no idea on whether you could do better than the $14K the car is being offered at. I doubt they'd take $10K, but I'd certainly offer less than they're asking. It all depends on your negotiation skills. I would do some serious pricing research ahead of time - KBB, Edmunds, Consumer Reports, Ebay, your local paper, etc. If you look at enough sources, you quickly get a much better feel for prices. I'd probably offer $12.5K and if the asking price to selling price ratio is typical, I suspect they'll sell a $14K asking price car for about $13K. Again, this is just my shoot-from-the-hip evaluation - I'm not tracking the used Mini market.

    The strongest advice I can give you is just to be cautious on a 2002. Personally, I wouldn't own one at almost any price but I'm not very tolerant of the types of squeaks, rattles, and fit/finish problems that tend to plague all-new designs the first year of production. Everyone who has owned a 2002 and later traded has said the difference in build quality is like night and day. 2003's are much better, 2004's better yet, when they finally got most of the bugs worked out.

    On a 2002 or 2003, I'd be careful to check the tranny and make sure it seems to shift well - weak 5-speed trannys in the early Mini's (not S models) were a big problem - they're fine when used carefully, but don't like abuse (such as speed-shifting) at all and they're devilishing expensive to fix.

    - Mark
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    ncowling & markjenn (and anyone else who chooses to comment)~

    After ordering my Mini from another dealer that's closer to me (Washington State), I wish I would have just ordered one from the Moritz dealer in Texas. After putting $1,000 down, my "expected" delivery date went from October to November! :mad: I'm quite iritated since I put the $1,000 deposit less than 24 hours after being told October. Now I'm wondering if it's going to be closer to December by the time it's all said and done! :mad:

    Also, I was told some story that I'm not able to get a production number for 2+ weeks or more and couldn't give me a approximate delivery date until late August. Why the delay? The dealer in Moritz said he could have a production # for me in less than 48 hours. Any idea why the difference in time frame?

    The guy I talked to was very informative and promised me I could get a car in 6-7 weeks at the latest. Also, Moritz had the best price overall. He was going to sell a car to me at MSRP plus throw in a few assessories (all floor mats, sunshade, etc.). I'm wondering if I can back out of the deal I made with the other dealer.

    Talk to the Moritz Mini Dealer and tell him some chick from Washington State sent you there.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    I was told by a dealer in the Northwest area that the Mini Cooper plant in Oxford, England goes on vacation nearly the whole month of August and that's why the delay in delivery of special order MCS. Is this a made up story? A dealer at Moritz in TX says production is slowed but not halted. Who is telling the truth here?
    :confuse:

    I ended up emailing the Mini Factory in Oxford directly. Maybe they will set the record straight.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    Here's something interesting I found on Mini Cooper's website that gives information about the Cooper's manufacturing. I don't see anything about a vacation in August:

    "A highly skilled and highly motivated staff of approximately 4,500 work on three shifts seven times a week, with an average output of 3,500 cars per week"
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    How many weeks from the time you ordered your car from Moritz until the time it was ready for you to pick up?

    I'm considering reordering my MCS through Moritz instead. Did you drive it home? I guess it could be a nice road trip back to Washington State.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    The factory has shut down, or significantly slowed down, at various times for various things--retooling and modification being major reasons. Not sure if it will slow down in August or not (but that would make sense--the 2007's are due in Europe in the fall, and this will require more retooling, although some of it is apparently already done), but it's not unheard of for the factory to significantly slow down for a period of time; often times this is known in advance. For example, most recently this spring, , they changed how they paint the cars--gone is the 3 coats (one being primer) and in is a 2 coat process, no primer or baking. This put a crimp in the factory for a few days (but overall speeds up the build process--not sure what it does to quality though).

    If you look at those numbers, they are prefaced by "approximately" and "average"--the Mini assembly isn't continuos, but has fits and starts here and there.
  • art07154art07154 Posts: 2
    I want to buy Mini as a birthday gift for my wife but I 've bought 2 cars in my life.I need some help on pricing.I've found 2004 Mini cooper base model in red with automatic transmission with panorama roof,leather seats and stability control for $17500 still has plenty of warranty left!Good deal,fair deal or bad deal?Thank you
  • exit64exit64 Posts: 2
    I just ordered a mini from Moritz yesterday and I have had a great experience so far. I actually live in Colorado but chose to order from Moritz in Texas because I had a really negative experience with the dealer in my state. They added a clear coat bra and a another protective product for an additional $1000. I was willing to pay the price for the car, I just wasn't going to pay an extra $1000 for products I didn't want. I would have paid the extra $1000 for better rims or a roof rack or something. Anyway, my brother also had a good experience with Mini of Dallas. I called maybe 15 dealerships across the country before I ordered my mini. I also thought that Ferman mini in Florida was very helpful.
  • exit64exit64 Posts: 2
    I read that the new one is only slightly longer and that is to accomodate a new pedestrian impact bumper requirement, so the interior should not be noticeably different. Also, reports of the 2007 indicate the exterior styling is indistinguishable. The major differences should be in interior options & packages. The 2008 Traveler (soon to be renamed) is longer with suicide doors for a REAL backseat.
  • jackel142jackel142 Posts: 47
    Ok, Drove my first Mini S this past weekend at Otto's in West Chester, PA. Great car, great dealership. I'd buy the car today, except for one minor issue. The lease rates are insane!
    I drive a pair of 04 Mountainer's. The leases are up in a couple months, and I want 1 smaller, fun car. The Mountaineer listed for $40,000, and my payment is $325.00 per month, and I put 0 down. The resale on that thing is terrible.
    The Mini listed for $29,600. I was quoted $560/month! The resale is great, so I assumed they would offer a much better money factor.
    I know I paid 10k off sticker for the mountaineer, and I'm paying sticker for the Mini, I would think that the payment should br close.
    Has anyone leased an 06 S for around $325-$350 with $0 down?
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    The interior is noticeably different. There is slightly more leg room, slightly more room overall, and it's more modern looking--I prefer the older retro interior to the newer look. The speedo is still in the center and is larger, but telescopes out--kind of hard to explain, but I like the old look better. On the plus side, the switches are a bit more intuitive and layed out better, and supposedly they're using higher quality materials. But from what I've seen, I'm not an overall fan of the new interior.

    The 2007 is very similar to the 2006 at first glance, but depending on how much you follow the Mini depends on how distinguishable it is. I'd venture to say it's very distinguishable--these things stick out: The wheel arch trim is much bigger. Looks terrible--it really sticks out, don't know what they were thinking--it's totally out of proportion to the car now. I could pick out a 2007 on the trim alone. The rear end is substantially different, mostly for the better. The front isn't as nice on the 2007--you lose the lines and proportion by adding heighth and length to the nose--it looks more like an accomodation to the euro pedestrian laws than a further evolution of the Mini (The original designer of the Mini didn't work on the 2007, and IMHO it shows) . The lights are no longer integrated into the clamshell bonnet, but this will be tough to tell with the naked eye. (but the clamshell bonnet still remains--good choice, a standard hood would look awful on the mini). The grill shape is also more angular, less oval--I like old one better.

    There will be potentially some very nice additions though--HP may go up slightly (by 5), and wieght should be substantially reduced, and gas mileage should be substantially better on the newer model.

    From a looks standpoint, I think the 2006 wins hands down. From a performance standpoint, the 2007 is looking good. I own a 2006 (I bought it specifically because of concerns with the 2007, rather than waiting for the 2007), and bought it with the intention of either holding on to it forever and modding it, or trading in. I'm fairly set on holding on to it (I've added the JCW brakes and suspension), but won't make a final decision until I've driven a 2007.
  • shaymbsshaymbs Posts: 1
    At this time I am extremely unhappy with my MINI experience and will probably be forced to cancel my order. I ordered a customized MINI S through the dealership in Hawthorne California.

    I custom configured the auto online and it’s scheduled to arrive at the dealership in mid August of 06.

    A week ago I logged into my account to check the status of my MINI and noticed a Navigation system was listed as installed…even though I did not order it.

    I called my MINI Rep that same day and let her know. She confirmed that they did install the navigation and that it was a mistake made on their end (MINI).

    My rep told me there is nothing she or the MINI Dealership can do about the mistake. She said my only options are to either:

    A.) Take the car “as is” and pay the additional costs of the Navigation
    B.) Place a new order and wait for them to build a new car according to my configuration.

    Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to wait several more months while a new car is built...nor should I have to. I need a new car by the end of August regardless of what happens. Also, I have a very tight budget and don’t want the navigation system that was installed…I bought my own portable navigation so I have no need for one even if I could afford it.

    This is such a strange situation; MINI messed up the order and I will be help accountable for it? After waiting so long to get this car I can’t believe this is the result.

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Also, has anyone had a similar experience? Does anyone know who I should contact with my issue?

    Thanks,
    Mike
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,323
    did you try contacting MINI directly, rather than your dealership?

    When did you first place your order?

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    I agree with the above--I'd contact MiniUSA ASAP (You can get all the contact info from their website), and I'd let your dealer know you're doing this as well.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Posts: 38
    cct~

    Here's the reply email I got from the Mini Cooper factory in Oxford England about closures and or production of the Mini's being slowed:

    Dear * * *

    Thank you for your email to MINI Customer Information.

    We can confirm that during the summer of 2006 an extended closure is planned for the refurbishment of the visitor centre at plant Oxford and updates to the tour. The dates of this closure are still to be advised.

    We hope this information is of help.

    Yours sincerely
    MINI UK
    Muneerah Sadiq
    Product Information Advisor
    Ellesfield Avenue
    Bracknell RG12 8TA

    Tel: 0800 083 6464
    Fax: 0870 5050 206
    Email: customer.information@mini.co.uk
    Website: www.mini.co.uk


    His reply to my email is a little confusing to me... I'm not too sure if the visitor's center extended closure in August includes the production plant. H-m-m-m-m :confuse:
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    Thanks for posting that. Yep, that is confusing--tough to tell what they mean with that--it could be just the visitor center/factory tours are on hold, but I'd be willing to bet that both the factory and the visitor center are going to be down--you're not going to be able to tour the plant when they're refurbishing it anyway, and it would make more sense to update the visitor center while the plant was down too--makes sense for them both to be out at the same time, rather than having the plant running and the visitor center closed (and vice-versa).
  • patelkpatelk Posts: 4
    what are people paying for a mini convet in los angeles?
  • pinay819pinay819 Posts: 1
    I ordered my '06 Cooper S today. :) I went to a dealership on the South Shore of Long Island, NY. The representative was extremely helpful and honest. The dealership gave a $500 discount plus floor mats for free. to top it all off, they had a BBQ and served us lunch. Go to Hassel! :shades:

    Also, we went to a dealership on the North Shore of Long Island, NY before going to where I purchased my Cooper. We tried to bargain w/ the manager but he was such a B*****d!! He only gave us a $250 discount. What an insult. Also, his 'air" about him really turned me off and I wasn't going to give this dealership 1 cent of my hard earned $$$.
  • I'm planning to order a new Cooper here in the next few weeks. After reading this thread, I have a few questions:

    1) Should I wait until the 2007s are being offered? If so, when will that be?

    2) Is there any dealer in CA (I'm in SF but am willing to go to either border) that sells for MSRP? The one here does not, and I'm yet to call the other three in the area.

    3) I would like to trade in my car during this fiasco. I've bought new cars before, but never "ordered" one. Can I do a traade in for this?

    4) If there is not a dealer in CA that will sell at MSRP, I will likely go to Wisconsin (have family there). Does anyone know what it will cost me to then bring it back into CA?

    Thanks guys :)
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    This has been rehashed several times, but in a nutshell, no, I wouldn't by a 2007 (They'll probably be available in January). I'd either get a 2006 or wait and get a Mini in 2008.

    When the new Mini came out in 2002, it was plagued by a number of problems all over the car--from build quality, to engine stumble and yo-yo. It really wasn't until 2004 (for the base Mini) or 2005 (For the Mini S) that the major issues were sorted out. The 2007 will be new from the ground up, and done by a different design team that created the first Mini--I'd wait at least until 2008, or even better, 2009, to get the bugs worked out--the new engine is an order of magnitude more complicated than the old one.

    Either way, if you decide to buy in Wisconsin, International Motors is very, very good--that's where I got mine (at MSRP with mats thrown in--that's it). Knauz in Chicago (Not too far from Milwaukee) is also a wonderful dealer.
  • Sounds like a plan. I'm hoping I can find a dealer in the Bay Area that doesn't charge over MSRP, but from reading here that sounds like a tall order.
  • Hi All,

    I just ordered my Mini Cooper and then saw in the Owner's Lounge, plant tour section that the plant is closed in August! Bad timing! Like everyone else, I wasn't sure if this meant just for tours, the entire plant, all of August, etc.

    So, I emailed Mini to find out and got the nice (and clear) reply below about the factory vacation time -- July 31st to August 13th, with production being halted during this time. Hopefully, Minis on order will be at the top of the list when production starts up again! I have to keep saying to myself: "patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue..."

    Max

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hi Max:

    Thanks for contacting MINI. I am happy to answer your question.

    The MINI plant in Oxford, England is closed from July 31st through August 13th. Production is halted during this time.

    I hope this answers your question. If there are further questions I can assist with, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. I will be happy to lend a hand.

    LET’S MOTOR.

    Carrie Zartman
    MINI Customer Relations and Services
    Representative
    866.ASK.MINI (275-6464)
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    They're retooling the plant for the next generation Mini (I just found that out for sure the other day)--I'm not sure why they call it a "factory vacation", maybe that's what they call retooling there....
  • I asked at the dealership on Wednesday and they said it's not for retooling, that that doesn't happen til December.

    Who knows with these guys though...

    Anyway, I found the answers to my own questions in my post above. I went to East Bay Mini in Pleasanton on Wednesday, put my $1000 down and ordered my Cooper. I paid MSRP but have quite a wait (8-15 weeks). Every other dealer in the SF Bay Area charges a minimum of $1000 over MSRP, going as high as $2500 over in some cases, so I'm guessing that East Bay gets a lot of business because of this and that's why it takes longer with them. I'm patient though :) They will negotiate my trade-in and other terms about 2 weeks before the car is due in.
  • F.Y.I. Here's more info on the closure (which seems to mostly affect the vistor's center):

    Dear Brenda

    Thank you for your further reply.

    We can confirm that it is only the MINI Visitor Centre which is the subject
    of refurbishment.

    Production of the MINI in all its forms will continue as before with MINIs
    rolling off the production line on a daily basis and also being delivered to
    MINI Dealerships, MINI Customers and MINI Shows throughout the UK and the
    rest of the world.

    We hope that this reassures you and would advise that we are not yet aware
    of when the refurbishment will be complete.

    Yours sincerely

    MINI UK

    Elfriede McNeal
    Product Information Advisor

    Also, here's another comments on the matter at motoringfile.com:

    To all concerned:

    The factory closure will not delay the production of MINIs. However, it has severly decreased the monthly allocation to each dealership. MINI Delearships only received an allocation of 15 to 20 MINIs for August Production. This is very small compared to the usual 40 to 50 MINIs. When late September comes around, most MINI lots should be empty.

    The 2006 Hardtop will be built through October for the United States. 2007 Hardtop production for the US Market will begin in December and should reach dealerships in February. Most dealerships will be receiving around 12 units for the first month.


    Worldwide MINI Sales Down in 2006
    Sections: Sales Aug 3rd, 2006


    Measures to expand the production capacity of the Oxford plant to approximately 240,000 units per year have impacted on the sales volume of the MINI brand over the six-month period. As a result of the reduced production volume during this period, worldwide MINI sales, at 101,063 units, were down by 6.5% compared to one year earlier (first half-year 2005: 108,114 units).

    Source: BMW Group Press


    MINI Plant Oxford To Close for Construction
    Sections: In the Press Jul 31st, 2006


    As reported previously, BMW will be halting production for a couple of weeks while it puts the finishing touches on plant remodelling in anticipation of full R56 production. You can read more about it from the Sunday Times:

    Last year Oxford built 200,119 Minis. Helmut Panke, who retires next month after four boom years as BMW chairman, predicts that production will rise to 230,000 over the next few years. BMW is spending £100m on expanding the Oxford facility and expects to create an additional 200 jobs there by the end of next year.

    But, like the original BMC Mini of the 1960s, the car is not very profitable. Bernd Pischetsrieder, a former BMW chief who now heads VW, once described the sales margin as “unacceptable” and wanted to set the Mini Cooper’s price higher than the £11,600 at its 2001 launch.

    [ BMW to Boost MINI Production ] Sunday Times
  • i am trying to buy a mini but, i am having the worst trouble. i mean i know that they are high in demand. but, the dealers don't offer any incentives and they want you to take the price as is. what happened to negotiating.
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