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KISS, Mini team up for UNICEF charity

Tommy Thayer, left, Eric Singer, center, and Gene

Tommy Thayer, left, Eric Singer, center, and Gene Simmons, of the rock group KISS, introduce signature Mini automobiles at the New York International Auto Show Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Manhattan. Photo Credit: AP

BMW’s Mini division announced it has joined forces with rock legends KISS to launch a new fundraiser campaign for UNICEF aimed at helping children affected by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan.

The legendary rock bank took to a makeshift stage Thursday at the New York Auto Show to promote the auction of four custom-painted Mini Countryman’s designed to replicate the makeup patterns and personas of the KISS members – Demon, Spaceman, Catman and Starchild.

The cars will also be signed by KISS members and be auctioned during a 10-day window starting May 29. The proceeds will be donated to UNICEF. No word yet on the starting bids.

"We wanted to help and also to provide a real way for the 'Kiss Army' to get involved," said Gene Simmons, the band's frontman. "UNICEF raises money to help children who are still coping with the effects of these disasters."

Mini of North America's chief executive Jim McDowell said the company will also start producing “wrap replicas” of the custom paint jobs that can be applied to any current Mini, including the Cooper of Clubman. He wasn’t sure about pricing.

McDowell also said this weekend a “Mini Rocks the Rivals," a competitive test-drive tour, will be launched across dealerships nationwide. Potential customers will have the chance to test drive the Countryman’s closest competitors in one shot, including the Nissan Juke, Toyota Rav 4 and Volkswagen Tiguan. People will also have the chance to donate to UNICEF in the dealerships.

Photos by Jose Moreno

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