Mini Slams the Brakes on Manual Imports

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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.”

[Image: Mini]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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Join the conversation
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on May 24, 2019

    I'm convinced that every MINI owner who has wanted the experience has had it already and is either all in or is fed up and done. Niche cars like MINI are usually overpriced as MINI is, but you would hope that it would at least be more reliable than it has been.

    • See 2 previous
    • Slap Slap on May 26, 2019

      Daughter has wanted a MINI since she was around 13 or so. Last year she leased one, a Cooper with all the JCW bells and whistles. Now she is talking about getting a GTI when the lease is up. All manuals, of course.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on May 24, 2019

    Even if they had a take rate of 20% for the manual, that means 8000 people in the US market will be upset. No biggie.

    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on May 24, 2019

      "that means 8000 people in the US market will be upset. No biggie." It depends. If some of them have access to Red Button and twitter we all are in trouble