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The Mini Cooper is one of the success stories that began with the Plymouth PT Cruiser and the Volkswagen New Beetle — cars that were functionally modern but bore the unmistakable exterior features of an earlier time. Many of these cars, including the PT Cruiser, New Beetle and Chevrolet HHR, are long gone, but the Mini soldiers on, with multiple body styles and power options.
The Mini is based on a British subcompact sedan that never made much of a dent in the U.S. market, but was beloved worldwide for its style, functional capabilities and unexpected prowess as a race car. Introduced in the early 1960s, it was discontinued in 1999 but returned just three years later after a major redesign. Under management of the German automaker BMW, the Mini was a modest success in the previously standoffish U.S. market, peaking at 66,502 units sold in 2013.