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Mini Travels to Visit Santa Claus at the North Pole

Mini Travels to Visit Santa Claus at the North Pole

By Jeff Youngs, November 12, 2012
Mini, the English sporty small car brand that has been called "the feisty underdog" in the U.S. market, is promoting its brand in a novel way as it competes for the first time in the Official Guinness World Records challenge to set a record for assembling the longest wish list to Santa Claus with a trip to what could be called the North Pole in Lapland.

The feat is a global project and Mini has reached out to consumers in 16 world markets. Consumers in many European markets, as well as in Russia, the United States, and Singapore, are joining in the event to send their letters to Santa. The journey will start at parent firm BMW Group's headquarters in Munich, Germany, and end at the Arctic Circle.

On Nov. 24, a convoy of Mini's small sporty cars, including the Mini Clubman, Mini Countryman, plus Mini Hatchback, Coupe, Roadster and Cabrio variants, will leave BMW Group headquarters in Munich for a trip to Rovaniemi, which is in Lapland at the Arctic Circle. The journey will cover nearly 2,000 miles (3,000 km) and pass through cities in northernmost Europe, including Copenhagen and Stockholm.

When the caravan reaches Rovaniemi, Mini says the group will be welcomed by Rauno Aaltonen, the winner of the historically significant 1967 Monte Carlo Rally. Earlier this year, Mini began offering a special edition Mini Cooper and Cooper S that honors Aaltonen, who is known as "the Rally professor." At the Arctic Circle, Rauno will also exhibit his behind-the-wheel driving skills in the newest member of the Mini family--the 2014 Paceman, which Mini says is its first sport activity coupe and will be introduced in the United States in 2013.

Mini Cooper and Cooper S models have been sold in the United States since 2002, although the brand is much older than that. The original Mini brand, first produced in 1959 by British Motor Corp., was considered a British icon of the '60s as a rally car and was known as the Mini Morris Minor and the Austin Seven. In the early '90s, German luxury sporty carmaker BMW Group purchased the Rover Group, which owned Mini, among other brands. BMW developed the brand and created a compact car with premium and unique features that is competitively priced. The latest-generation Mini Hatch/Hardtop, which was developed under BMW's stewardship, went on sale in the United States in July 2001.

Through the first 10 months of 2012, Mini sales in the United States have outpaced the industry's 13.4% year-to-date rise with a sales increase of 15.2% from a year ago. Sales were 54,419 units through October 2012 vs. 47,050 a year ago, according to J.D. Power's forecasting partner LMC Automotive.

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