It is now getting close to seven years since Mini production ceased. The supply of parts is becoming a big issue, and the situation is not good.
The current state of affairs within the British Automotive industry continues to be frustrating at best. The continued closings of various manufacturing plants both large and small are impacting almost every supplier’s ability to provide cost effective product in a timely fashion. And just as important, with so many large operations looking to cut costs and improve profitability, many of the product lines are just being discontinued. A good example of this is Quinton Hazel which recently announced they would no longer produce a steering rack for the Mini. They were THE major world manufacturer and have left everyone scrambling for anything and everything at any price.
The UK problems continue even at the warehouse distribution level as they too face all the competitive pressure of a declining market and increased costs. The mandate to make a profit has resulted in staff reductions and, more important, inventory reductions. A common practice today is to stock product only after the order is in hand. Not only does this prove disastrous as manufacturers discontinue products and close plants, but our time to receive parts needed for our USA inventories has gone through the roof. It is now not unusual for most suppliers in the UK to take 3 to 4 weeks to fill our orders to them, and then they often only fill 60 to 65% of the order. This includes some of the giants like MiniSpares, Rover, and British Motor Heritage. It is not uncommon for us to order the same parts from several suppliers just to try to get some product, some time at any price! The resulting world Mini problem is a downward spiral! If you can’t supply product in a timely manner, and that which you can supply is at an ever increasing cost, what does the future hold for the Classic Mini market?
Mini Mania and others are truly aware of the problem and while working on it, believe that consumer awareness of the reality of the Mini hobby is a critical factor in dealing with it. At the forefront of our effort is our purchasing . Our purchasing department professionals, with the aid of the highly specialized computer system, search the world EVERY day for everything as simple as wheel bearing to as unique as tops for a Moke. We will continue to use our 32+ years of experience to keep our beloved cars on the road.