MINI USA to Eliminate Manual Transmissions from Some Models for 2020

worldwide MINI sales

The emissions certification delay on MINI manual transmissions is halting all import of those models in the US starting this July and likely last a few months. But beyond that MINI USA is also eliminating the manual transmission option altogether from some models for 2020. And a few are pretty surprising.

Until the plugin hybrid Countryman that released last year, MINI USA offered a manual transmission in every model of every car. In fact it was the last automaker in the US to do so. But the temporary emissions certification issues aside, MINI USA will be permanently reducing the models it offers with manual transmissions. The reason is what you’d expect – low take-rates. In other words not enough people are opting for manuals on some models to justify the cost of offering it. While it may be tough news to come to grips for some, keep in mind MINI USA committed to the manual. How committed? I’ve had company representatives tell me on several occasions that their intention is to be last manufacturer to offer manuals in the US.

Manual Transmissions

MINI Models That Will have Manuals in 2020

Enough talk. Lets show you what models will and won’t be offered with manual transmissions. The following is a complete list of cars that had the manual as an option for 2019. Crossed out are the models losing that option for 2020.

F54 Clubman

  • Cooper (eliminated from the US line-up)
  • Cooper All4 (eliminated from the US line-up)
  • Cooper S
  • Cooper S All4
  • JCW

F55 Hardtop four door

  • Cooper
  • Cooper S

F56 Hardtop two door

  • Cooper
  • Cooper S
  • JCW

F57 Convertible

  • Cooper
  • Cooper S
  • JCW

F60 Countryman

  • Cooper
  • Cooper All4
  • Cooper S
  • Cooper S All4
  • JCW

Manual Transmissions

That’s a lot less manuals. To be fair take-rates were quite low on many of those models. How low? Here’s a full rundown on the percentage of manuals sold for each model over the last model year (we’ve bolded what models will continue to offer a manual for easy reference):

F54 Clubman

  • Cooper / 3% (eliminated from the US line-up)
  • Cooper All4 / 8% (eliminated from the US line-up)
  • Cooper S / 7%
  • Cooper S All4 / 9%
  • JCW / 22%

F55 Hardtop four door

  • Cooper / 6%
  • Cooper S / 10%

F56 Hardtop two door

  • Cooper / 11%
  • Cooper S / 17%
  • JCW / 41%

F57 Convertible

  • Cooper / 6%
  • Cooper S / 30%
  • JCW / 32%

F60 Countryman

  • Cooper / 1%
  • Cooper All4 / 6%
  • Cooper S / 0%
  • Cooper S All4 / 10%
  • JCW / 19%

 

JCW Clubman manual transmissions

Where does that leave us? Losing manual availability in this many models at once is tough as a MINI enthusiast. There’s a certain authenticity to any brand that still offers manuals and no one has offered more over the years than MINI. Furthermore not having a manual on the 301 hp JCW Clubman, Countryman and upcoming GP feels like an obvious miss given the would be take-rate of those cars.

Yet even with this change MINI still offers the largest percentage of models of any brand sold in the US with a manual outside of small volume sports car makers. And given the all out assault currently happening on small cars in the North American market, it’s fair to say that things could be much worse (as we’ve seen with other brands).