A car dealership in Scotland specializing used in Minis is battling BMW for the right to use the Mini name for its business. BMW, the parent company of the Mini brand, has asked the dealership to stop using the trademarked name because it's not an authorized Mini retailer. The dealer uses emojis to get around the trademarked name and is battling BMW with a sense of humor.
The issue started after Bridgend Motor Group of Kilmarnock, Scotland, opened a used car dealership in December called Mini World. The dealer specializes in used Mini cars and has a large selection of vehicles. Not long after the Mini World opened its doors, someone informed BMW, which told the dealership to remove the brand's name and logo.
Bridgend first tried to cross off the Mini name in its signage and took the battle to social media. "Apparently, we're not allowed to use the word Mini when we're trying to sell used Minis," the dealership wrote on its Facebook page. "Not on our signs, our flags, or our website. We're not even sure if we're allowed to think the word now! They were so stern about it. "Anyway, we are sincerely sorry for our genuine mistake, and for the avoidance of doubt, we sell used Minis and are definitely not a Mini dealer. We're much cheaper!"
That didn't fly with BMW, which informed Bridgend that crossing out the name was still verboten. Bridgend responded by covering the Mini logos with a variety of face emojis and calling itself "iNi World." It also added notes on its signs encouraging people to "follow the story" on social media.
Bridgend Motor Group seems to be enjoying the results of its social media campaign, which has attracted worldwide attention. "We never thought it would be an issue, a relatively small local family-run business specializing in used Minis in a small town like Kilmarnock," said Sales Manager Mark Hawthorn. "How many more used Mini specialists are there in the UK? Which I am sure will also be using the word, Mini."
BMW confirmed in a statement it had asked Bridgend to stop using the Mini name because it's not an authorized Mini retailer. However, it has not yet publicly responded on social media or to the dealer renaming itself "iNi World"