Earlier this year, MINI announced it will be pulling its manual cars from sale in the United States. It was speculated that the intake rate was low and that prompted the Brits to stop offering a stick shift altogether. However, MINI USA always said this would be a temporary measure. Today, we learned that they are staying true to their word.
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According to Car and Driver the hiatus will soon be over and manual MINI models are making a comeback on the North American continent next year. There is a bit of a catch though: not all models will get the manual back. To be fair, fans of the brand are lucky that the Brits are even offering a manual still, as the trend is obviously going against shifting your own gears. Nevertheless, they are soldiering on and, according to spokesman Andrew Cutler “starting early February 2020, customers will be able to resume ordering [two- and four-door] Mini hardtop and convertible models equipped with manual transmissions from March 2020 production.”
Car and Driver says the Clubman and Countryman models will get the manual back too but later, in July. “There is a segment of the customer base that prefers driving with a manual transmission, so we do want to maintain that for the component of our customers who expect that,” added Cutler. Apparently customers really want their MINIs to be as fun to drive as possible and are actually buying them to be driven the right way.
According to MINI USA, about 45 percent of the customers buying a MINI Cooper S are going for the manual and that’s a pretty high take rate. As for John Cooper Works models, it seems like the bigger, Countryman and Clubman models will still remain automatic-only due to their higher power output. The Hardtop JCW will still be offered with a manual though, as it has less power than its bigger brothers.