BMW is getting tough with the select few United States dealerships which will stock its new Mini due out as a 2003 model next month: have your Mini showroom Mini-ready – or no Minis.

For example, the Detroit News says that local buyers may have to wait until late autumn because the new BMW-Mini dealership planned for Shelby Township doesn#;t open until October.

Dealer Eitel Dahm, who already holds nearly 600 orders for the Mini, wants to use an empty former Audi showroom in Eastpointe but has been told no dice.

The Detroit News said that of about 70 BMW dealers awarded Mini franchises in the United States, a handful won't be ready for the car's launch in March.

If they aren't ready, they won't get product, Mini spokesman Michael McHale told the newspaper.

"You have to create a Mini-friendly environment. Once they've done that, they'll get the franchise," McHale added. "There are clear franchise rules, and people have to meet them."

The Detroit News said a confident Dahm isn't worried about losing business to out-of-state dealers who also have been swamped with orders.

"They won't have enough product. They are sold out for the year," he told the newspaper.

BMW is shipping only 20,000 Minis to America for this model year, with each dealer getting about 300 each, the Detroit News said.