Auto-up Windows

Try as I might, it seems that I just can’t keep saying no to folks that want “auto-up” for their MINI (at least the non-R56/57 people!)
A while ago, Mike (mcrtech on Metroplex MINI) twisted my arm hard enough that I said that if he was able to collect enough interested folks to justify the costs of another production run, I would do it … in turn, he has started a thread over at MetroPlex, and is keeping track of interest over there.

However, many MINI owners are not members of Metroplex MINI – so with thanks to gnatster, there is now a “potential group buy” thread on NorthAmericanMotoring – if you are interested in purchasing a circuit (perhaps the last ever production run), then please visit the NAM thread.

This circuit works only in 2002-2006 hardtop MINIs and 2005-2008 convertibles (ie: R50/R53/R52); it is NOT compatible with R56 MINIs or the Clubman.

Bargain MINIs?

Just finished my 580 mile drive down to southern PA, where I’ll be working this week – nicely, the temperature has risen to close to 50! On the downside, it’s supposed to rain soon 😦

Anyway, catching up on MINI news, I just read the “gloom and doom” from MotoringFile (joke!) discussing whether the significant drop in MINI sales in other countries, will soon occur here too.
Personally, I suspect that sales will drop but maybe just down to the “more normal” 3500-4000/month level.

But then, I also just saw this news item indicating that MINI of Peabody is having a “clearance” sale:
… until December 31st, Mini of Peabody is offering a $0 deposit, $0 down lease deal on select Minis with a monthly payment of $266.86 for 36 months …

Is that an indication of poorer sales, or simply a desire to close the year nicely?

Also in the news today, NHTSA, BMW Fighting Over Mini Cooper Recall! I can understand why MINI/BMW think that hot exhaust tips is not worthy of a “safety recall” (which typically conjures up images or roll-overs and fires) … but as the article states, “the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act provides for a safety recall when there is a safety-related defect, and the law does not give the manufacturer the option of choosing a different course of action“.
Of course, if MINI is expecting sales to drop, the last thing they need is lots of media coverage about a MINI safety recall!

BMW, MINI, Cafepress, and us

Stumbled over this interesting / surprising thread on NorthAmericanMotoring, started by Mini Bee / Jack who I met at Mickey & MINI this year, enjoyed the MM3 video he created, and have some of his wonderful products, like this great T-shirt:

Jack starts off the thread back in October, saying:
BMW just issued a cease and desist for almost every design in my CafePress store … previously their guidelines stated the designs could not have the word “MINI” … now they have decided to change the guidelines to include use of images of MINIs

Of course he and all NAM readers were upset with the apparently heavy-handedness of BMW lawyers (reminiscent of 2003), and shocked that BMW would try to claim that even the IMAGE of a MINI is unacceptable!
Read on through the thread, though, and Jack writes:
I called the attorney representing BMW in this issue and he had someone call me back the same day. He was very polite and willing to listen to my concerns … he admitted they have not seen the designs so he asked me to send the designs to him for review. No guarantees this will change anything but I was very pleased they were willing to listen …

And finally, a somewhat reasonable outcome:
I just spoke to the BMW attorney to go over the guidelines. It’s official…nearly all the designs in my store will be available again after some work by me and COOPERation … I have to remove the bmw word marks from all titles and descriptions (mini, mini cooper, bmw) … on the owner’s club designs the faux MINI wings at the top of the current design will have to be removed …
I’m still a little shocked at the pleasant resolution of this issue. I was optimistic but this result has exceeded my expectations …

Although, it’s somewhat crazy that BMW / MINI continue to ban all use of the four letters M-I-N-I! If you’re thinking of selling any MINI-related product, it’s probably worth checking out the BMW CafePress guidelines page that Jack links to, which says (partly):
No use of any BMW group logos, including but not limited to … MINI Wings Logo
No use of any BMW group word marks, including but not limited to … MINI, Mini Cooper, Mini United (see how they “sneak” lower case “mini” in to their list?)
If the item bears an image of BMW Group vehicle, whether a photograph or drawing, it can only be sold if the image does not focus on any BMW Group logo …
BMW clubs or members may not sell club related or BMW merchandise …

While these are CafePress restrictions, you’ve got to think that next, BMW might push these rules further in to the community – what will that mean for the various major MINI events (like MOTD, AMVIV, MOT)?