Mini executives want the brand's U.S. dealerships to pursue used-car sales with more vigor. Higher used-car sales would help Mini and its retailers at a time when new-car sales have slumped. So Mini USA launched a program at the beginning of the year that pays dealerships bonuses for hitting used-car sales targets. Each Mini store gets a customized target. If a store hits its target, it will receive additional margin of 1 percentage point of the vehicle's sticker price on each new-car sale.
Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas claims that the used-car business is a huge potential for the Mini dealers in the U.S. The numbers show that dealers with a strong used-car business are the successful dealers. It's just a matter of focus. About a third of Mini's 127 U.S. dealerships don't meet the brand's preferred minimum standard for used-car sales. That would be to sell at least one used car for every two new cars sold. Mini executives say a ratio of one used car for each new car sold is ideal. Yet some Mini dealerships don't actively build their used-car inventories by buying at auctions or purchasing off-lease vehicles. It also helps to have a dedicated used-car manager or sales staff.
Maximizing used-car sales is especially important when new-car volume is suffering vs. previous years. Through the first four months of 2017, Mini's U.S. sales fell 12 percent from a year earlier to 13,732, following an 11 percent drop last year. The falloff comes as sales of Mini's cars have been pinched by a consumer shift to bigger vehicles amid low gasoline prices. Mini's annual sales in the U.S. hit a peak of 66,502 in 2013. Mini sold 52,030 vehicles last year in the U.S. U.S. car dealers welcome the used-car bonus program but they also want more support from Mini on marketing used Minis to consumers, plus better wholesale pricing for off-lease vehicles.