Crevier BMW is shedding dead weight


Since starting its Biggest Loser contest seven years ago, the dealership has shed 640 pounds. That’s how much weight employees at the Santa Ana, Calif., dealership have lost by participating in the contest.

A focus on physical fitness and employee well-being contributes to a low absentee rate, high employee retention and productivity. The store sells about 4,000 new and used vehicles annually, making it one of BMW’s top-selling U.S. dealerships.

Crevier credits its performance largely to providing employees with several health programs. A variety of health care specialists and inspirational speakers are brought in regularly. Free health clinics offer flu shots, cholesterol checks and other health tests, and there are four weight-loss contests annually.

There also are the weekly massages. And in November 2011 management added guidance resources, which give employees access to financial information, legal support, work/life solutions and confidential therapy.

Managers say the emphasis on health keeps employees loyal and productive.

“We end up the winners,” says Al Parajeckas, general manager of the store, which is owned by Penske Automotive Group Inc. “We have less absenteeism, and they have more energy. They’re happier. There’s less turnover. It all comes back to us in different ways.”

Parajeckas spent about $4,800 last year on health-related programs at the dealership, and it has paid off. The store, which sells the BMW and Mini brands, has about 275 full-time employees. Last year the turnover rate for the BMW employees was less than 10 percent. For Mini employees, it was zero. And BMW Group AG named Crevier BMW-Mini an international finalist for the “Excellence in Sales 2010” competition in the Manager of the Year category. BMW says Crevier is its most-awarded BMW dealership in North America, and it has been the top-selling BMW store in the western United States for 19 years.

One of Crevier’s most popular health programs, the Biggest Loser contest, was started on a bet made seven years ago.

Mike Weldon, finance manager at Crevier BMW, says he was “pushing maximum density” with his weight at 5 feet 11 inches tall and 230 pounds.

“My general sales manager, in jest, would say, ‘Hey you’re looking pretty plump,'” Weldon says. “He said, ‘I’ll make you a bet: If you lose 20 pounds in 3 months, I’ll take you and your wife to dinner.'”

Weldon took the bet by joining a medical weight loss clinic. He got down to 186 pounds and brought down his cholesterol level significantly.

“I felt great, nothing could get me down,” Weldon says.

Weldon has gained back only a few pounds, he says. But he inspired a weight loss contest at work that can help him shed those few pounds.

After Weldon’s success the store decided to offer a contest to encourage others to lose weight, too.

The Biggest Loser contest is held every 3 months. Typically about 30 to 40 percent of the staff participate. It kicks off in January with a health fair at the dealership, Parajeckas says.

“We have health experts take blood pressure, body fat analysis; yoga and fitness experts come in,” Parajeckas says. “All the employees participate. Then we kick off the Biggest Loser contest.”

There’s a weigh-in each Friday. The end goals are to lose the largest percentage of body fat or the most pounds, Parajeckas says.

Prizes include cash, iPads and other items, says Parajeckas.

Crevier emphasizes employee health in ways other than weight loss.

It supplements its January health fair with a smaller health fair in the fall.

Inspirational speakers, such as Mike Scioscia, manager of the Los Angeles Angels, have talked of teamwork and handling big egos, Weldon says. Paralympian April Holmes spoke to employees about overcoming adversity.

Then each Friday Crevier offers 15-minute massages that book up every week, Parajeckas says.

“We do it because employees love it. It makes them feel better, and it’s one of those things where they start to feel better about themselves, they’re happier, and they have more energy,” Parajeckas says.

Then there’s the in-house health food store called The Rev Cafe that offers food at a discounted price.

All the programs make Crevier a good place to work, and customers sense it, Weldon says.

“Customers tell us, ‘I could have bought my BMW cheaper someplace else, but I come here because of the Crevier experience,'” he says.

And that’s why Weldon says he stays.

“They care about their employees’ health and they support us and make us feel good about being there,” Weldon says.

“It’s been 11 years I’ve worked here, and I’m not going anywhere.”

Shape up!
Crevier BMW spends close to $5,000 annually on health-related activities to keep its 275 employees healthy and productive.
• 2 health fairs annually
• Free flu shots and medical testing, such as cholesterol checks
• Guest nutritionists, fitness trainers and motivational speakers
• A Biggest Loser weight-loss contest each quarter
• Friday chair massages

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In 2002, the first U.S. Mini dealership opened in San Francisco. With only one model and a gallon of gas selling for an average of $1.25, there were plenty of critics who said the Mini brand didn’t stand a chance in the States.

“Mini launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of Mini USA in a statement. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

Now, ten years later, Mini has six models, gas prices have more than tripled and “small car” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap car.” It’s safe to say those naysayers in 2002 made a big mistake about the premium small car from BMW.

So, happy birthday, Mini USA, and congrats on convincing an SUV-loving American public that bigger is not always better.


March 22, 2012 Marks the Brand’s 10th Anniversary Milestone in the U.S. Market

San Francisco – March 21, 2012… Since its 2002 introduction, MINI USA has proven that there is a place for premium small cars in the American car market; and on the 10th anniversary of the brand’s launch, its leaders can confidently say that MINI has successfully established itself as the leader in this growing segment. Over the last decade, MINI has grown its vehicle portfolio from the single Hardtop body style that it launched with in 2002, to include six unique models today; it has expanded its dealer network by two-thirds; and has cultivated a loyal owner community, the likes of which few brands have the honor to call upon as their own.

“MINI launched in the U.S. during the time when gas was cheap and large trucks and SUVs ruled the road,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President MINI USA. “Many thought the brand would be a one-hit wonder, and we are extremely proud that we were able to surprise some the toughest critics, and at times, even ourselves.”

MINI challenged the notion of small meaning “cheap” by delivering a premium vehicle experience in a small package with inspired design. The brand also demonstrated to many motorists that MINI can meet their everyday driving needs. The sales success first peaked when fuel prices spiked in 2008; but another best-year sales record was set in 2011 when fuel prices were more stable, indicating that the brand had successfully come into its own and that motorists’ positive perception and acceptance of premium small cars was growing. Today, one in every five BMW Group vehicles sold in the U.S. has a MINI badge on it, making it a significant contributor to the company’s overall success.

The brand has grown to include six models, Hardtop, Convertible, Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, each of which complements the others as part of the lineup. Each vehicle in the portfolio has been developed to have a distinct personality while still delivering on the brand’s longstanding promises regarding sporty performance, striking design, overall efficiency and value.

MINI USA’s dealer network has grown from 66 dealers in 2002 to 112 dealers today, and up to 125 outlets are expected to be open within two years. While all MINI dealers have dedicated showroom space, approximately 60 percent of the existing MINI showrooms are stand-alone facilities. All new facilities moving forward will also be free- standing, and as a direct result of the brand’s success, many dealers are investing to upgrade or move those that are not. By the end of 2014, MINI USA expects that 90 percent of its facilities in the U.S. will be exclusive operations.

MINI USA launched the first vehicle for the U.S. market in the San Francisco Bay Area 10 years ago, and today the brand commemorates its 10-year milestone at MINI of Marin, the newest dealership facility to open, which is operated by Penske Automotive Group – a longstanding partner in MINI USA’s success.

To commemorate its 10th anniversary, MINI USA has developed a media kit that is available on, which highlights some of the feisty, engaging and memorable moments from the last 10 years. Assets include a MINI history timeline, a photo gallery and video.

MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The MINI USA sales organization is represented in the U.S. through a network of 112 MINI passenger car dealers in 38 states. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of six unique vehicles.

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MINI of Warwick Named 2012 MINI Dealership of the Year!

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DealerRater, the world’s premier car dealer review web site, just announced the winners of the 2012 Dealer of the Year Award Program. Through this award program, 37 manufacturer categories were represented and MINI of Warwick, located in Warwick, Rhode Island was named 2012 MINI Dealer of the Year for the State of Rhode Island and Eastern Region.

MINI of Warwick not only was named Top Dealer in the Eastern Region this year, they have consecutively remained award winners for four years, along with obtaining the title of Number One Dealer in the Entire United States (2008.) As a Certified Dealer with a 4.9 rating (out of 5) on Dealer Rater with over 100+ reviews, the dealership is provided a unique opportunity to contact reviewers publicly or privately with the intention to resolve any expressed issues, and correct their clients concerns.

By encouraging their customers to provide feedback on their dealer experience, MINI of Warwick has been able to consistently set the bar higher in customer satisfaction while embracing and the opinions of their clients and the integrity of their unbiased reviews. Thank you to the Warwick MINI team members for their unparalleled commitment to excellence, thus making this award a reality.

The team at MINI of Warwick is dedicated to making their client’s motoring experience enjoyable.


Visit MINI of Warwick online at or call 877-361-3416


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Your Classic MINI Christmas Calendar

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MINI wants to make your holidays a little bit more cheerful. Since Monday, MINI has been celebrating the holiday season with their Classic MINI Christmas Calendars giveaway. Today is the last day for your chance to win – so make sure you enter your name!

Three random winners will be selected to receive a free MINI Christmas Calendar, courtesy of MINI Clubs International Office. Send your name to [email protected]. The calendar will be delivered to the winners’ homes.

If you don’t want to chance the odds, and want to make sure you get one, MINI Spaces can always purchase one for about €9.99, or about $13.50. Just email [email protected] with your MINI Space username. Shipping costs are not included, and shipping time will vary based on your location.

It may seem a little early to be getting ready for Christmas (although the department stores would tell us otherwise). However, you’ll need the calendar in time for December 1, when you can start consuming the chocolate that comes with the calendar. Yes, behind each window there is a bit of chocolate to help you count down the days until Christmas.

The Christmas Calendar is a German tradition, so its no wonder BMW-owned brand is giving away a Christmas calendar. Typically, the calendar is given to children to count down the days until Christmas, but all ages can enjoy the festive spirit—especially if chocolate is involved.



If you want a special MINI Christmas Calendar, you better hurry! There’s just one day left for the giveaway.

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“Come Together” Over the MINI

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MINI in History: The Beatles’ MINI Coopers

If you’re a fan of the MINI, you’re in good company.  The MINI was a favorite of the Beatles, particularly George Harrison.  The music group that started Beatlemania not only had great talent for music, but great taste in cars.  Beatles fans and MINI fans can “come together” over these fun facts about the Beatles’ Minis.


The Beatles’ Minis were gifts from manager Brian Epstein.  He gave all four members their own Mini.  These weren’t just any Minis though – they were customized by Harold Radford Coachbuilders.  Radford’s updates included adding a full leather interior, a Rosewood veneered dash, and electric windows.


George Harrison, the Beatles’ lead guitarist, had a particular affinity for his Mini. Like the other Minis, Harrison’s original 1966 Mini Cooper S became a “Radford Mini De Ville GT.”  George’s Mini was outfitted with Rear VW Beetle lights fitted sideways, front fog lamps, a Webasto sunroof, black leather interior, and a metallic black exterior that was soon painted to match the psychedelic cosmic design of the time period.  With the new paint job, the car went from black to bright red and featured mystical eastern designs, no doubt inspired by Harrison’s trip to India.

Harrison’s Mini would later appear in the 1967 film the Magical Mystery Tour, which follows the Beatles’ journey in a bus across England.  Along the way, they come across a marathon race, and Harrison and Lennon enter with Harrison’s Mini. It should come as no surprise that the Beatles had Minis – in the 60’s and 70’s, the Mini was very popular among celebrities and a bit of a “fashion statement.”


Harrison maintained his Mini over the years, and it was even exhibited at Goodwood in 1998.  In 2009, Mini resurrected the model that Harrison used to own to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary.  They gave a fresh interpretation of Harrisons original Mini, and the guitarist’s widow, Olivia Harrison, auctioned it off for charity.


“George was a huge MINI fan and he would have enjoyed creating this new version.  The fact that MINI’s anniversary celebrations will also benefit our foundation has made it an enjoyable as well as meaningful collaboration,” said Olivia Harrison at the time.


Since the 60’s, the Mini has been a cultural icon, and has enjoyed much popularity throughout its lifetime.  The Mini has featured in many movies, including The Italian Job, The Bourne Identity, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and also in many television shows like Mr. Bean.


What do you think of George’s beefed up ride?

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