Back in 2003, I bought my first MINI. Got it to 100,000 miles in the first 2 years. Just for grins, I recall running it through Kelly Blue Book to see what it was worth. If memory serves, I believe it was showing up as having a trade-in value close to $15,000. Not bad for 100K miles.

Fast forward to 2012 when she had over 200K miles. I believe KBB had given me a trade in value of about $4,000.

Fast forward to this week when I ran Bruce through KBB. 9 years old, 100K miles. KBB gives me a trade in value of about $2,200 or less!

What happened to the value of MINI?

The first generation MINIs really held their value. Like a BMW back in the early ’00s. Now, not so much. Possibly due to reliability issues of the R5X cars? Possibly due to the overall lack of build quality? Possibly due to MINI dealers offering incentives? I really don’t know the cause, I only know the affect. And I’m getting killed.

I bought Bruce for several reasons.

  • Roxy needed another $1200 repair that I wasn’t about to pay
  • Bruce is an R56 Cooper with a manual transmission and no sunroof. A rare find.
  • The price was right
  • I was beginning to rebuild my credit

The interest that I am paying on the loan would make most of you shudder, but for me I was amazed I was able to get it as low as it is. I was expecting credit card levels and am below that. But, now I am upside-down 4x over on that car and my credit is substatially better. And since I don’t really like this car anyway (a story for another time), time to do something about it.

Earlier this week I found a 2013 MINI Cooper Roadster that ticked all of the boxes I was looking for.

  • It’s an S
  • It has HK
  • It has cloth seats
  • It has an automatic (another story for another time)

It’s Black and is in amazingly good shape. The previous owners probably never used sport mode on the transmission from what I could tell. Runs great, everything works, no leaks, top is in good shape. The only issue was some pretty good shaking starting around 80MPH that is probably due to a balance or alignment issue.

Listed for right about $16K, I do my research on the VIN and KBB, where it shows a trade-in value less than $12K. Which means if I pay the full purchase price, drive it down the street to In-N-Out for lunch and come back to use it as a trade-in for another car, I would be out almost $5K!

So I offered $12K. It was declined, as you would have expected. The sales manager thought I wasn’t very smart, telling me the dealer was into this MINI for $15K already and blah blah blah. I told him I knew that car had been on the lot for 30 days and the weather in Arizona will be turning from convertible weather to not in very short order. I thanked them for their time and left. I expect they will give me a call today or tomorrow with some kind of counter offer. If they do not, then I’ll be looking into refinancing options on Bruce.

I haven’t had the chance to run any F5X cars through KBB but would be very curious if you have. Comments are open! Let’s hear the horror stories!

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  1. I’ve heard that values have plummeted of late.. Although when I traded the R60 back over the summer it didn’t seem to me too bad…

    Admittedly my scale is strictly how much I owe vs how much I’m offered. But 3 and a half years and just south of 60k miles the number I was offered on the R60 combined with what the dealer offered me on the F54 was very attractive.

    I’m staggered that the KBB value of your MINI is where it is, that’s just a painful number

  2. Don, I’d be interested to see what you get if you switch from trade-in to private party value on KBB. Trade-in values tend to be lower (sometimes significantly so) than private party values depending on the specific vehicle.

  3. I remember, back in the day (cough, cough), when the dealers were contacting owners offering incredible money trying to buy back their cars because they didn’t have enough on their lots to sell. (Plus, the prospect of selling us another MINI didn’t hurt.) Guess those days are gone because there are so many available now.

  4. I would bet $13-$13,500 would buy that Roadster for sure. Also, those are aftermarket wheels and cheap tires which drives the price down even further. Seriously, that is a bargaining chip on the price.

    1. I’m expecting them to call back, possibly tomorrow with it being the end of the month and they have had the car on the lot for more than 30 days.

  5. I have often toyed with the idea of selling my 2004 MCS. It doesn’t even have 100k on it, and it’s in pretty fantastic condition for the age. But the value goes up and down so drastically from year to year, I often don’t think it’s worth it.

  6. Hey DB – I hope the seller comes back offering you a better deal on that sweet MCS Roadster. FWIW my 2014 F56 JustaCooper with 20K miles has a KBB trade-in of $14190 and I owe $14447. But it’s still a joy to drive every time I get out in it.

  7. I feel your pain but your knowledge of the brand is a huge asset and I know you’ll come out on top of this. If I were in your shoes, I think upgrading to the roadster is the way to go.

  8. Hi DB,
    As you know, with the Cooper S comes the turbo and HPFP. That’s about $3000 for parts alone. Just something to think about. My 2011 Cooper S Clubman had to have both replaced at 120K. And then the water pump at 133K. Otherwise it’s been a great MINI. The automatic transmission’s held up well. The only time it’s been walnut blasted was at 133K. That brought back a little of it’s pep but I never really noticed a decline before that.

    1. Oh, I’ll be getting an extended warranty for sure! [edited because my phone can be pretty dumb sometimes]

  9. OK db. My story. Wife totaled her 08 Clubman S with 80k something on it in 2013. We got a check for little over 20k for it. Dumped that on a 2013 Countryman S. Her Countryman is worth 13k trade-in/15k private party sale now with 40k miles. ouchie.

    Well, my 2002 MCS is still going strong with 208k on it and my right foot engaged frequently. I have yet to get into a new MINI that has that driving dynamic.

    My only guess is that the supply far out paces the demand as their reputation precedes them. Probably the case for new ones too.

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