Talk about your bad timing.

We learned today that MINI is changing the name of the top-spec wheel option for the Cooper SE from 'Corona Spoke' to 'Power Spoke'. The move comes just about a month after the first MINI Cooper SE customer delivery in the US. 

We're currently halfway through our two-week Cooper SE press loan and have been reporting on our time with the vehicle so far. We also drag raced a BMW i3 REx and a Tesla Model 3 performance on the InsideEVs track in North Carolina last week, and those videos will be posted soon. 

We couldn't help but joke about it when we noticed the Corona Spoke name on the Monroney label. I even sent out a tweet yesterday about how bad the timing was, and tagged MINI. 

 

Well, MINI noticed and I got a call today explaining that they think it's best if they change the name, and well, we couldn't agree more. 

It's clear MINI did nothing wrong here, it's just terrible timing and unfortunate that they have to go through the expense of changing the name on everything, including printing new Monroney window labels for all new Cooper SE vehicles that haven't yet been delivered. The Corona Spoke name was selected many months before the first case of COVID-19, so MINI just caught a bad break. 

MINI Cooper SE Monroney label
Corona Spoke wheels listed on the MINI Cooper SE Monroney label

 

Was the name change necessary? Probably not, but I guess MINI wanted to play it safe, something we agree with. The Coronavirus has the world turned upside down, and no car company wants any vehicle they have to be connected to it by nomenclature.

Plus, this isn't the first time the BMW group used the Corona name. They've been calling their circular-style "Halo" headlights "Corona Rings" and "Angel Eyes" since the year 2000. It's just bad timing to introduce a new wheel option and use that name. 

We think Power Spoke is actually a more appropriate name anyway, because the wheels are meant to look like UK power sockets. We don't really get the connection to power sockets and Corona, but we're sure MINI's marketing department had a reason when they named it that. 

What do you think - good move by MINI or an unnecessary overreaction? Let us know in the comment section below.