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MINI Confirms It’s Bringing Back the Manual Transmission in the U.S.

Towards the end of May 2019, MINI had announced that the manual is temporarily dead in the United States. The British automaker did mention that the stick shift will come back at some point, and thankfully, that point is February 2020.
MINI JCW GP 51 photos
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Car & Driver received official confirmation from a spokesperson about availability, and only one nameplate “the John Cooper Works version of the Mini Hardtop” will be the first nameplate that will get the six-speeder, three-pedal setup.

The row-your-own option extends to the four-door model and convertible, but only as long as the nomenclature includes JCW. The range-topping GP remains an auto-only affair, complemented by limited-slip differential at the front axle.

MINI spokesman Andrew Cutler told C&D that two more JCW models will follow suit in July 2020, namely the Clubman wagon and Countryman crossover. The question is, why did shipments of the manual stop in this period?

The problem MINI had to sort out over in England is the fuel-delivery system of its entire lineup. These modifications required “additional testing and optimization,” leaving the manual in the dust as the seven-speed DCT and eight-speed automatic soldiered on. A pretty bad move from the British automaker, which has struggled in the past few years to bounce back from poor sales in all of the world.

"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. Up to 45 percent of U.S. customers opt for the six-speeder in the Cooper S Hardtop, the highest take rate for the three-pedal setup in the BMW Group-owned brand’s entire catalog for North America.

Speaking of which, care to guess how much it costs to purchase the most affordable MINI in the United States off the dealership lot? Make that $23,400 excluding destination charge for the bargain-basic Cooper Hardtop, the equivalent to a well-sorted Toyota Corolla sedan. It’s no wonder the brand has trouble selling its cars – regardless of specifications.

 
 
 
 
 

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