The Mini (styled MINI) brand has a long and storied history, complete with breakups and rebirths of an iconic set of vehicles. Currently, Mini is a brand that's owned by BMW and specializes in small cars. At one point in time, however, Mini was within its own company- the British Motors Corporation(BMC)- which manufactured the Mini from 1959-2000. The original Mini has a supremely dedicated following and is considered a 1960s British icon due to its FWD layout which saved a ton of space for passengers and their belongings. In many ways, the Mini is considered the equivalent of VW's Beetle. While the Beetle enjoyed immense popularity in America (and still continues to do so), the Mini was its UK equivalent. Some even consider it to be one of the most influential cars of the twentieth century. Mini was also marketed using the Austin label in the 1980s.
The Mini began as a particular vehicle by the name of Morris Mini-Minor and the Austin Seven. This car was created in 1959 by the BMC and became its own brand of various different small vehicles, including the Mini Traveller, the Mini Clubman, and the Mini Moke. The original 2-door Mini was produced all the way until 2000 from its original inception, undergoing several upgrades and styling changes along the way. Originally, it was just over 10 feet long (though it could fit four people), and had front-wheel-drive and a transverse engine. In 2001, new MINI production began, (which featured a brand-new image for the company under the new, direct ownership under BMW) and the lineup was expanded to now include the Mini Convertible, Countryman crossover, and 2-door hatch/hardtop. ITHe Mini has been built in sedan, pick-up, station wagon, cabriolet, UV, and many other forms. The original Mini company (BMC) was established by Sir Alec Issigonis in 1959. Minis today are built in the UK and Austria.
At first, the UK public found the Mini to be a little odd, and it wasn't very popular. That sometimes happens with innovative products; they take a while to catch on. However, once Britain's Queen was seen riding in one in the early 1960s, the car's popularity skyrocketed, and everyone wanted to own a Mini! It became popular across all social classes. What a feat! The Mini was also popular around the racing circuits. Drivers couldn't get enough of the tiny vehicle, and from this several performance models were built. The Mini vehicles were able to grasp several wins due to their small size and quick handling. They could challenge any big competitor on the track.
Several attempts were made to replace the Mini with vehicles like the 9X and the Austin miniMetro & Rover Metro100, which were the most successful- the latter spanning the years 1981-1997. The Mini Mark III-Mark VII (1969-2000) was also very successful for the company. Mini was refreshed in the year 1990 with the arrival of the Mini Cooper. The last few years of Minis- produced in Sept. 1996 or later- featured some of the biggest changes ever for the brand. Following 41 years of production and over 5.3 million units sold, the Rover Mini sadly ceased production on the in October 2000, but don't' fret. Today's next generation Minis are just as impressive and give rivals like Smart a serious run for their money.