Mini fans can look out for a big anniversary bash in the UK in 2009, celebrating 50 years since Alec Issigonis's legend first took to the road.

Worldwide gatherings of Mini fans have been staged every two years since 2005, and while this year's took place in Holland, the 'Golden Anniversary' will be staged at home in the UK according to senior vice president for brand management, Kay Segler.

He said: "Where else could we do it? It will be a major event which will attract Mini enthusiasts from all over the world. We have not decided exactly where yet, be it will need to have perhaps a circuit, good driving routes as well as hotels and camping facilities."

Segler said the event in Holland attracted people from fifty nations. "It provides an opportunity for enthusiasts to meet up and we hold all sorts of workshops and events."

Despite a Japanese market performing at its worst level for 30 years, Mini is holding its own with sales on a par, year-to-date, with 2006 at 10,500. This is despite a change to the latest model in the spring.

Tokyo Motor Show saw the launch of the new Clubman which is expected to account for around 20 per cent of sales in Japan.

"So we are talking about good numbers," said Segler, "and it proves we are making cars that appeal to global markets.

"We are not concerned about increasing numbers, we want to build the Mini brand and if we have more demand than we can supply that can only be good. It is good for BMW's investment in Mini because we initially looked at 100,000 sales a year.

"Capacity at Oxford is now 220,000 and moving towards 240,000 and there are nom plans to increase that further. This makes Mini a good investment for dealers because their margins remain high - they don't have to discount - while customers are happy because re-sale values are also high."

Japanese buyers tend to be very fashion conscious, 65-70 per cent male and largely interested in the Cooper S.

Elsewhere in Asia, sales are also building. In China they have doubled from 700 to 1,400 this year. The company only sells the Cooper and Cooper Convertible there at prices comparable to a BMW 320 - although the 'Beemer' is produced in China.

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, Mini has its highest market share in the world at 3 per cent, which equates to around 440 this year and means that one in every 30 cars sold there is a Mini. 

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