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MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper Clubman, MINI Cooper Countryman, Coupe, Hatchback, SUV
#415 of 1491 Re: Buying a 2002 Mini Cooper - good deal or not? [markjenn]
Jul 18, 2006 (6:04 am)
Mark - thanks for your comments. They make a lot of sense and have made me stop and think, particularly your mention of the "worst repair records" and the possibility that repair bills might be high.
I just had a few followup questions I'm wondering if you can answer:
1) you're saying that I'd be paying almost 70% of the new price for a four-year old car... but if the Kelley Blue Book is showing a similar price, doesn't that mean the car is holding its value? Used Toyotas and Hondas are often expensive, even at 4 years but it is because they are holding their value. Of course their reliability is higher.
2) If I could get the dealer to come down on the price, what would be reasonable for this car? Perahps the 4k I might expect to pay in repairs? Although it is doubtful they will do it, maybe I should see what their response is to an offer of $10k?
I've looked at the new Minis online and it seems that even the stripped-down model costs about $17900 + destination charges, putting it at about $19k or more. That's a bit hefty, for me, but you're right to say that I might be paying that in repairs. (Also seems that all of the interesting colors now cost $400-600).
I did see the Honda Fit. Also saw Toyota's Yaris, equally priced, but might as well buy a Corolla at $15K. One thing the Mini has that these cars don't is leg room and a front seat that goes very far back. At 6'2, that's really important for me. Yesterday I drove the VW Rabbit which was quite responsive and has great legroom, too. The 2-door is $14990, but will probably be close to $16 with deal add-ons. The gas mileage is surprisingly bad for the Rabbit, though, i guess because the engine is a 5-cylinder.
Thanks again for your help!
#416 of 1491 getting around mark ups.... and 2006 vs. 2007? and maintenance...
Jul 20, 2006 (10:43 am)
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?
#417 of 1491 Re: Buying out of State - Please Help [markjenn]
Jul 20, 2006 (1:23 pm)
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?
#418 of 1491 Re: getting around mark ups.... and 2006 vs. 2007? and maintenance... [chl
Jul 20, 2006 (1:55 pm)
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.
#419 of 1491 Re: Buying a 2002 Mini Cooper - good deal or not? [mini_dreams]
Jul 21, 2006 (7:59 am)
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.
#421 of 1491 Re: Buying out of State - Please Help [ncowling]
Jul 21, 2006 (10:08 am)
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! 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!
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.
#422 of 1491 Does the Mini Cooper plant go on vacation in August?
Jul 21, 2006 (10:36 am)
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?
I ended up emailing the Mini Factory in Oxford directly. Maybe they will set the record straight.
#423 of 1491 Factory info I found interesting online
Jul 21, 2006 (10:46 am)
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"
#424 of 1491 Re: Buying out of State - Please Help [markjenn]
Jul 21, 2006 (1:22 pm)
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.