If you’ve gone out to buy a Mini in the U.S. over the past few months, you might have noticed that manual options on new cars were either slim or nonexistent—more so than usual, that is. But the six-speed manual Mini will return to the market soon, for certain models.
They’ll return in March of 2020, to be exact, according to Car and Driver. But the return is only for certain models, and Car and Driver reports that neither all-wheel-drive vehicles nor John Cooper Works performance variants will be part of that return.
Here’s the deal, via Car and Driver:
“Starting early February 2020, customers will be able to resume ordering [two- and four-door] Mini hardtop and convertible models equipped with manual transmissions from March 2020 production,” spokesman Andrew Cutler told Car and Driver. The Clubman and Countryman will follow in July.
The delay, specific to North America, was necessitated by updates to the fuel-delivery system, made in order to enhance efficiency and increase injection pressure. That required “additional testing and optimization,” leaving in the interim the seven-speed DCT and eight-speed automatic as the only transmissions offered.
Reports came around this summer that Mini would temporarily stop importing manual transmissions to the U.S. in July, with no real idea of when it would start up again. The news came around the time other stick options were dying, in addition to the concept of the stick dying in general, so it wasn’t exactly cheery.
But Mini had reason to bring the manual back, given that, via Car and Driver, about 45 percent of U.S. buyers go for the stick in the two-door Mini Cooper S Hardtop. A Mini spokesperson reiterated that manual-preferring customer segment to Car and Driver, saying Mini wants to maintain the option for the customers who expect it.
“We are going to continue to ensure that we’ve got manuals when and where possible,” the spokesperson said, via the story.
Of course, that’s as long as people continue to buy them.