BMW's MINI brand is poised to buck the automotive trend this year, according to MINI USA CEO Jim McDowell.
For most manufacturers, breaking even in the current climate would be a godsend, but MINI may weather the storm better than most if these predictions prove true.
MINI managed a 30 percent sales increase in 2008 over 2007, posting a record sales figure of 54,077 units at the end of last year. In addition, all but one of MINI's US dealerships were profitable last year - impressive given the poor state of the economy.
McDowell said that an all-new convertible model increased traffic to the MINI website, the new model partly accounting for the brand's strength in 2008.
More dealerships and a new convertible model arriving in late March should translate into further success for the brand this year, the 50th since design-genius Alec Issigonis penned that first iconic Morris Mini Minor.
With all the doom and gloom in the air these days, it's refreshing to hear of a brand doing well for a change.