Mini Slams the Brakes on Manual Imports
Add another manual transmission availability story to the pile.
The Mini brand will cease importing models equipped with stick shifts to the U.S. in July, the automaker says, but don’t get your Mini-loving selves worked up just yet. Manuals will be back at some point in the future.
The problem, as Mini USA communications head Andrew Cutler told Motoring File, isn’t due to nonexistent demand. Rather, it’s an emissions issue. Cutler claims a delay in the certification process caused by calibration testing will stem the flow of manual Minis starting in July.
While the calibration and certification process is already underway, Cutler said he couldn’t pin down a date for when three-pedal imports might return. “As much as we at MINI USA would like to have a definitive timeline, it would be too early to say,” he remarked.
The big tranny news at Mini these past couple of years hasn’t been a manual gearbox; rather, it’s Mini’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, announced in late 2017. Current model-year Minis make do with six- or eight-speed automatics or, where available, six-speed manuals. For the coming model year, the Cooper variants and Clubman are expected to gain the DCT.
The Clubman arriving this summer is also refreshed, joined by a more powerful John Cooper Works variant carrying only an eight-speed auto, unlike in past years. The larger JCW Countryman gains the same 301-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four/eight-speed/AWD combo.
After it gets the certification process worked out, Cutler said Mini will continue offering manuals for the “foreseeable future.”
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