If you were wondering if BMW's experiment of making small premium cars badged as Minis worked, we have your answer right here: the company announced today that it recently sold its 500,000th car in the United States.
Mini (in its current iteration) first came to the United States market in 2001 with just one model, the Mini Cooper (available in standard or supercharged S form). Despite its small stature (it stretched just under 143 inches) it delighted customers with sporty driving dynamics and plenty of premium features, with an added dash of retro design. Mini sold 24,590 units in 2002 (its first full year on sale).
Since then the Mini range has grown from one body style to seven: the Hardtop and Convertible, Countryman and Paceman, Clubman/Clubvan, and Coupe and Roadster. As such, sales have grown: the Mini brand crested 50,000 in 2008 (with 54,077 sales), but set an all-time record last year with 66,123 sales.
Mini's next step, however, is a big one: the next-generation Mini Cooper Hardtop bows in Summer 2013, and we'll see the first four-door Hardtop model sometime in 2014. Expect all manner of variants after that: future Minis will share their modular architecture with the BMW 1 Series and spawn such cars as the MiniVan.
What does it all mean? Expect Mini to take today to celebrate on the 500,000-unit milestone…and then go back to selling another 500,000 units. It might have taken the company 12 years the first time around, but this time we predict we'll be hearing about another 500,000 units much sooner.