Minis were developed and are manufactured in Oxford, England. This is likely the root of them being more popular there. Also, in the US we had a love affair with large automobiles and it took high gas prices to get us to start to downsize.
Also, many streets in Europe are much smaller than most in the US. Parking is always an issue in European Urban Centers so the smaller the car, the easier it is to park. Alternative forms of transportation are also more readily available in Europe making it easier to travel and not always need to depend on your car. This eliminates the need for a multi passenger vehicle and or one to accomodate cargo.
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