From Peter Ziedrich of Redwood Empire Mini Enthusiasts:
On Thursday, April 26, Norm and I, representing Redwood Empire Mini Enthusiasts, were invited to join representatives from the MINI US design team for an impromptu dinner in Crockett. The dinner party was made up of representatives from MINI USA, BMW (Germany), and Designworks/USA (an industrial design firm now a US subsidiary of BMW). We were joined by representatives from both MOASF and Norcal MINIs at the informal dinner.
To our surprise, we were the only US car clubs the design team was meeting with, and they were scheduled to return to Europe within the next couple of days. Prior to our dinner the team had much on it’s California agenda including meeting with the Sausalito based advertising company. The car designers were interested not only in our feelings regarding the 2007 model, but also in the Clubman (to be released internationally sometime in late 2007), possible variants of future models for MINI, our feelings of the local dealerships, and our ideas regarding current advertising. I must add that they were very careful not to disclose any information that was not already in the public domain.
There may possibly be an AWD model and/or diesel model coming to USA within the next few years. A diesel MINI (not MCS) is already available in Europe, getting 50-60 mpg. Although not high in horsepower, the diesel MINI produces as much torque as a gasoline powered MCS. I tried to encourage them to produce a MINI Triumph roadster. I can assure you that a roadster is not on their short list, because every time I brought it up questions were directed to different subjects, although they were interested in seeing the article in MC2 showing an artists design of what a Triumph MINI may look like.
This was not only a very fun and exciting dinner, but was also a very memorable one. I know for me at least (I don’t want to talk for Norm), this was my only opportunity to date, talking to car designers where they seemed interested in my opinions; possibly influencing the direction for future models of a very popular car. While we talked, members of the design team were jotting down notes in their note pads either because they valued our ideas and opinions or to make us think they did. I added a couple of pictures in the REME MegaBBS gallery just to prove that we were there.
I feel very honored to have joined this group for dinner, proving the significance of our “little” (now not-so-little) car club.