Mini stunt goes horribly wrong: car maker sponsored killer EU cold front
Mini has taken a step too far in its attempt to be cool. It sponsored a storm cell in Germany that ended up killing more than 70 people and sent more than 500 to hospital.
The Independent newspaper in the UK reports that Mini paid just €299 (about $AUD368) to sponsor the weather system, a practice that is allowed only in Germany and the USA.
It named the cold front "Cooper" to promote its Mini before tragedy struck.
The death tolls from the freezing weather were highest in Poland and the Ukraine where at least 40 people died, the newspaper reported.
Temperatures plummeted to as low as -33C as the cold front from Siberia headed west over central and south-eastern Europe.
The mounting fatalities lent a "sinister" aspect to Germany's practice of allowing companies to sponsor high and low pressure weather systems, the Independent wrote.
A spokeswoman for Mini told the newspaper that the company regretted people had died as a result of Cooper. "Of course we are sorry. It was not intentional, you cannot tell in advance what a weather system will do."
The company decided on weather sponsorship because it wanted a "wind and weatherproof idea", and encouraged visitors to follow Cooper's "beautiful weather" online.
It is unclear if Mini will go ahead with another planned sponsorship of a low-pressure weather system named "Minnie" later this year.