News has recently come down that the MINI Clubvan vehicle will be cancelled in the U.S., robbing consumers of the stylish functionality of the MINI utility vehicle.
The decision to discontinue the Clubvan was a product of a 25% tax added to the vehicle in the U.S. at the time of purchase. The tax, known as the “Chicken Tax” was imposed in 1963 by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson on all light trucks designed for the transportation of chicken, potato starch, dextrin and brandy. The law was made in response to tariffs that France and West Germany had set up on the importation of chicken from the U.S. Those tariffs have been lifted, but the chicken tax was not.
The Chicken tax was originally set in place to discourage U.S. consumers from purchasing foreign-manufactured light trucks, and a case can be made for the tax at that particular time in history. However, the tariffs on the importation of chicken have since been lifted, but the tax on foreign light trucks remains in place. This 25% surcharge takes most of the appeal out of the MINI Clubvan, a vehicle that was intended to be a cost-effective utility vehicle for small businesses. MINI has seen sales of the Clubvan suffer due to the Chicken Tax, so the decision was made to discontinue the vehicle.
What a bummer!
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