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Mini 'madness' takes its grip on the UK

BMW described the opening weekend of sales of the new Mini as 'phenomenal', with all 148 of participating dealerships reporting packed showrooms.

The new Mini appeared at UK dealers on Saturday and a number of stories of surfaced from individual sales centres.

BMW has provided these tasters.

Jim Houghton, dealer principal at Halliwell Jones in Chester, said jaws dropped as one of the first Mini Cooper customers arrived at the dealership in grand style – at the wheel of a 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow – then asked the dealership to take it in part-exchange.

Mr Houghton said: "We've had a great time getting to know the new Mini, but nothing could have prepared us for the arrival of a Rolls-Royce. I'll never forget that moment!"

One of the first customers at Newmans of Canterbury was a 73-year-old woman trading in her 16 year old Mini Cooper. It was the only car she had ever owned, with a grand total of just 6,000 miles on the clock. The woman had been determined the car would meet her needs for life, but had changed her mind on seeing a picture of its new incarnation.

Snows of Portsmouth spent much of last weekend explaining to customers that demand for Minis means their cars cannot be delivered before October, but found one customer who wasn't planning on turning the key until 2015. A local man turned up with his three-year old grand-daughter on Saturday and registered a car in her name. The Mini Cooper will now go into storage until her 17th birthday.

Calterdon Ltd of Inverness took one of their first orders on Saturday from a couple of intrepid customers who battled the elements to ensure they honoured their pre-booked test drive. Stanley and Karen Pyke had arranged to fly to Inverness, but had to re-plan when bad weather grounded all flights out of Orkney. A ferry ride and a three hour drive later, ensured that they were able to put down a deposit on one of the first new Minis in Scotland.

Trevor Houghton-Berry, general manager for Mini in the UK, said: "It's been a fantastic weekend for new Mini and a great start for the dealerships. I've never seen such a positive reaction to a new car and, I suspect, never will again. One dealership had almost 2000 visitors at the weekend, and the Mini sales managers around the country now know what we mean when we say - Mini makes you smile."

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