Sold-Out of Mini Coopers?

Mini Cooper 

Automotive News is reporting that the U.S.’s 82 Mini franchises are out of cars.

I was skeptical, so I called the local Mini dealer here in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and to my surprise, they are indeed almost out of inventory. They only have one hard-top, a couple Clubmans and a couple convertibles in stock.

The story reports that dealers can really only take orders and deliver preordered vehicles for the rest of the year.

"For the last three months, we were selling from inventory," said Jim McDowell, vice president of BMW’s Mini division. "There’s no way (July) can be as good."

McDowell said that dealers have a one-day supply of cars and that 81 percent of the cars delivered this month have been ones that customers have ordered. Mini’s sales have gone through the roof recently, likely due to high gas prices and consumer demand for small, fuel-efficient cars.

For the first half of the year, Mini sales are up 33.6 percent to 26,400 units.

Is the Mini the next Prius, the current "hardest to get" vehicle?