Miniology To Cover ABF Performance Tour ’09 Exclusively!

Miniology reporter Jennifer B. Simes will be on hand to report from the San Francisco event!

The 2009 – 2010 ABF Performance Road Tour, presented by MINI USA and Yokohama Tire Corporation, features two-day events at major metropolitan cities around the United States. The ten city nationwide tour provides the participants with the opportunity to experience the handling, performance, and lifestyle that is MINI.

THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE

Attendees will be treated to the use of Auto-Cross type courses at each event. Ride along with professional drivers as they demonstrate the MINI’s handling prowess. Then take the driver’s seat and experience first-hand what makes MINI owners so dedicated to the marque

Customer satisfaction and VIP treatment are our first priority. Our professional staff of MINI Specialists are recognized and well respected by the MINI community and bring a high level of energy and fun to the events.

THE COMMUNITY

MINI owners are the most outgoing and friendly group of people around. They take pride in the individuality of the MINIs they drive. Come be lifted by their enthusiasm and see what makes owning a MINI so special.

So we’re giving you all a chance to show off what makes your car unique (or just see what others have done to their MINIs). Participate in the Car Show and win trophies and prizes in over twenty categories (from Best Cooper and Cabrio to Most Miles on the Odometer).

OTHER FUN

Manufacturer’s Midway (to find those parts you have been looking for)
Product Displays and Demonstrations
“Ask the Experts” Panels (in case you are into some serious customization)
Great Gifts and Giveaways
And, of course, food, drink, and a slew of other fun activities to enjoy
And It’s Free!
Sign up to attend this event HERE!

BMW Adds Two New Models To MINI Line!

Since BMW began producing the new MINI lineup in 2001, it has strayed about as far as possible without tarnishing the Cooper’s iconic name and even offered electric, Clubman and JCW variants of the new MINI Cooper. Now, BMW has announced that it will be expanding the lineup with two all-new vehicles that are set to make a debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month. As the iconic English automaker celebrates its 50TH birthday, BMW AG chairman Dr. Norbert Reithofer announced that MINI would not only be unveiling a pair of concept vehicles in Frankfurt, but both cars are also slated to go into production in the future.

Reithofer said that both new cars will be built at MINI’s assembly plant in Oxford, England, but he did not give any specifics regarding pricing, production dates or model availability. In all likelihood the two new vehicles will consist of the recently introduced MINI Coupe and possibly the MINI Speedster. The addition of these two models will help add a little more excitement to MINI’s lineup while helping to broaden the automaker’s consumer base. MINI has made quite a name for itself since 2001 in delivering vehicles that balance small size and fuel-efficient powertrains with a spirited, fun-to-drive attitude.

Ahead of the Frankfurt debut, MINI released pictures of the upcoming Coupe Concept last week showing the stunning design work of the future model. Looking very much like a chopped Cooper, the MINI Coupe Concept is most likely a close approximation of what the two-seater production model will look like. The Coupe Concept shares MINI’s trademark design up front as well as the Cooper’s extreme wheelbase, but the raked windshield, two-tone roof and forward-swept C-pillar give this car a truly unique design. As for the MINI Speedster, it is likely to be just a drop-top variant of the Coupe which should be positioned directly against other compact roadsters such as the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Expect both the Coupe and Speedster to be available in base, S and John Cooper Works (JCW) trim levels and share engine and transmissions with the current Cooper lineup.

Another vehicle that could possibly be shown in Frankfurt is the upcoming crossover, likely to be called the MINI Countryman. MINI has already said that it plans to offer the crossover in the near future, but that vehicle would likely be assembled in Leipzig, Germany alongside the upcoming BMW X1. Last year, MINI showed off the Crossover Concept with trick swiveling doors and a pillar-less driver’s side opening, but the production model will follow a conventional four-dour, five-passenger layout. Not one to disappoint its fans, the MINI Crossover should stick to the same basic formula that has made the Cooper such a popular car. Despite the switch from front-wheel drive to rear- or all-wheel drive, the Crossover Concept only rides on a wheelbase that is about two inches longer than the Cooper.

Fans of MINI’s cars may be happy with this recent announcement, but its employees should be even happier. Reithofer said that the economic downturn has led to about 850 job cuts at the MINI Plant Oxford, but the addition of two new models should help add back at least some of the jobs that were lost.

Dr. Juergen Hedrich, Managing Director of MINI Plant Oxford, is encouraged by the latest news. “The fact that Plant Oxford will be building these exciting new models shows the high level of flexibility of the plant and its associates. The MINI family has a bright future,” Hedrich said.

Always Open!

The Open One Challenge uses the new MINI Convertible’s Openometer technology to determine once and for all which motorer is the most open. We’ll award prizes for the top three, top-down open motorers each month, and a special once-in-a-lifetime prize awaits the most Open One of all at the end of the challenge: a trip for two to the birthplace of MINI— Oxford, England. And don’t worry, if
you don’t have a new MINI Convertible with an Openometer, you can still get in on some action. Learn more and register at THEOPENONE.COM.

True Blood Mini For Vampires Only

BMW’s MINI Cooper is just one of the real products being marketed in a faux campaign for vampires, coinciding with the second-season premiere of HBO’s vampire drama — “True Blood.”

The MINI ads feature blood-red versions of the MINI Cooper and the MINI Clubman with headlines like “Feel the Wind in Your Fangs” and “Type GO.”

Last year, HBO launched a similar type of viral marketing, using YouTube. In a viral marketing effort by Campfire (the same marketers who convinced us that the Blair Witch was real), vampires worldwide appeared to demand suffrage by creating their own amateur YouTube videos promoting a blood substitute.

The aim of blurring the lines between reality and fiction through these ads and the show’s microsites – bloodcopy.com, fellowshipofthesun.org and americanvampireleague.com – is to fully immerse consumers in the experience and premise of the show.

According to an article published in MediaPost, MINI and several other popular consumer products featured in the campaign – Harley-Davidson, Gillette, Monster.com, and Geico – can sit back and enjoy the ride, as HBO is taking on all the creative and media costs for the campaign.

This year’s ads can be seen in national print publications (like US Weekly, AM New York, and the New York Observer), online, and outdoor advertisements. All of the ads include URLs that lead consumers to HBO’s “True Blood” website at HBO.com.

Contra Costa Backroads Rally Set For July 19th

Presented by NORCAL MINIS and MINI OF CONCORD

Contra Costa Backroads (Drive time approx 3hrs)

July 19th, 2009

Meet at the BMW/MINI of Concord Collision Center for Bagels and Refreshments

Tech Session 8:00am

Check in Time for Rally : 8:30am

Meet back at MINI of Concord for Lunch and Refreshments.

Raffle, Trivia and Contests will be held during the event.

Special Themed Cars will be at checkpoints.

ANYONE CAN PARTICIPATE, A MINI IS NOT REQUIRED.

MINI Launch Mobile Application “Openness” to Promote the New MINI Convertible

[thanks to Luke over at Profero for this juicy tidbit!]

Profero, the leading global, full-service independent digital communications agency, is delighted to announce the launch of the new MINI iPhone mobile application. Openness is part of the latest digital MINI activity to promote the new MINI convertible.

You can get the iPhone app by hitting this link (which opens in iTunes, hopefully.. hehe)

Openness – iPhone app

With over three years creating memorable campaigns for MINI, from the Cannes Cyber Lions gold-winning ‘White Rabbit’ to ‘The Other View’ and ‘Ban Boredom’, Profero’s mobile application will build on other activity in the cars’ 50th anniversary year.

Drivers of convertibles are more open to new experiences so the MINI Openness mobile application encourages users to explore the unexplored and try new things. By downloading the application, users will have access to an off-beat guide to the UK’s major cities, including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh and over 400 unusual and spontaneous experiences: from getting a Brazilian to attending a Mexican wrestling match with fetish cabaret, joining a literary salon to jumping on a coach to an unknown destination.

The wider digital campaign, Stay Open, is supported by online banner activity, also centred on openness and spontaneity.

Ysabel Vazquez, national communications manager at MINI, said, “We wanted to create something different from the run-of-the-mill motoring iPhone applications. With Openness, Profero have delivered an experience that offers real value to users, helping them find some excitement on the hoof.”

Kris Crokett, MINI Account Director at Profero, said, ““Working closely with MINI on the Openness mobile application has been an exciting, challenging and rewarding experience for Profero. Our main objective was to create something of real value, that supports MINI’s unique brand values, and we are delighted to be able to offer iPhone users and MINI fans something that does exactly that. It is another exciting stage in MINI’s digital growth and one that demonstrates their willingness to embrace innovation and creativity.”

Editor’s note: Profero (www.profero.com), now in its eleventh year, is the leading independent global communications group with digital at its core. Its client base includes, AstraZeneca, Channel4, COI, HBOS, Johnson & Johnson, Lufthansa, MINI, Puma, Swiss Air and Western Union. Today over 450 brilliant, creative talents work as one highly awarded team out of Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Milan, Mumbai, Munich*, New York, Paris*, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Zurich*. *In partnership with Plan.net