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The naming of cars is a difficult matter

Look what arrived on Friday!

2015 MINI Cooper S

Apologies to T.S. Eliot for the title of this post, but throughout the ordering process I tried to think of a good name for this car, and now that it’s arrived I’m still trying to think of a good name. Probably something tiger-related, because even though it’s orange and black like the Baltimore Orioles, it has more of a tiger feel to me. Unless I think of something else, right now I’m waffling between Hobbes (since it’s orange with black stripes, like a tiger), or Neko (after Neko Case, since at the last concert of hers I attended she remarked during her stage banter that if she was in a zoo she’d want to be a tiger, and then I found this picture of her, and – besides – the car is probably too sexy to be a Hobbes, hahaha).

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Production

It’s interesting to see how your car is built. Your car. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve always liked buying MINI: you can configure your car online, print out your specifications, bring it to the dealer, and say “order this.” I’ve never really had an interest in buying a MINI off the lot – maybe if it met my exact specifications – but configuring a car to your taste is part of the fun. Another part of the fun is tracking its production status.

The other day my Motoring Advisor1 called to let me know my car was in production. It took another day or two, but now the online site has caught up with the current production status:

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 12.11.35 PM

You can also use your production order number (what you’re given when the dealership places the order with the factory) or the last seven characters of your vehicle’s VIN (which you get once the car’s scheduled for production) and call 866-ASK-MINI for details on its current status, which was what I had to do while I waited for the online status to update.

A few years ago I had the opportunity on vacation in England to visit the MINI factory in Oxford. Before that tour I always thought of factory tours as being ushered along catwalks above the action, but here you were walking right alongside the people and robots doing the work.


  1. The MINI equivalent of a salesperson, since they’re more there to help guide you with your decisions.