DETROIT — Mini USA aims to turn declining U.S. sales around in 2018 with the help of a full year of production of the redesigned Countryman and a freshened trio of small cars.
Such a sales increase would help revive dealership profitability, which has been weaker than dealers and brand executives want to see, Thomas Felbermair, vice president of Mini Region Americas, told Automotive News at the Detroit auto show. Mini's U.S. sales fell 9.5 percent in 2017, the second straight year of decline for the brand.
Dealership profitability "is still not where we would like to see it," Felbermair said. "But this is mainly linked to the volume decline."
Another factor that "is weakening profitability" for dealerships is the drop in recalls, Felbermair said. The Mini lineup has been heavily improved, and the brand had no recalls in 2017, he said. While that's positive for the brand and customers, it cuts into revenue for dealership service departments.