If you had told me twenty years ago that there would be a point at which you could not buy a brand new Corvette, Ferrari, or Mini without a manual transmission, I’d have said “Interesting, now leave me alone.” But seriously, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. Mini has long been a bastion of affordable enthusiasm for the street, and that has, until now, meant three pedals and a hearty handshake. Due to supply-chain constraints, however, the manual Mini is dead. At least for now.
According to a report from Autocar, the BMW-owned compact Brit car maker won’t be making any row-your-own hatchbacks for a while. Mini claims the issue was initially caused by the global chip shortage, but has been exacerbated by general supply chain issues related to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Interestingly, the company representative also mentions an increase in consumer demand for Mini products. Because of the increase in demand, stick cars have been dropped to “ensure production stability”.
Unlike pretty much every other automaker, Mini offered a manual transmission in every model it sold (bar the single-speed electric Cooper SE). Mini didn’t clarify whether the stick shifted hatches would ever be returning to the lineup, but obviously we seriously hope they do. I’m not sure what components a manual car would require that would make it unsustainable in the current supply chain environment.
Perhaps Mini is just using this as an excuse to streamline its production and rid the brand of its manual option altogether. Like it or not, manual transmission advocates are a small percentage of the population these days, and don’t have the mass buying power we once did. Manual drivers can absolutely learn to live with an automatic vehicle, but auto-only drivers aren’t built with the same disposition.
I would be more angry about this, but the only Mini I was actually considering buying was the non-manual electric model. So I guess the joke is totally on me.