Mini Slams the Brakes on Manual Imports

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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]

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  • 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

  • Lou_BC "They are the worst kind of partisan - the kind that loves their team more than they want to know the truth."Ummm...yeah....Kinda like birtherism, 2020 election stolen, vast voter fraud, he can have top secret documents at Mar-lago, he's a savvy business man, and hundreds more.
  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
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