For most automakers, the manual gearbox is as dead as the carburetor. But not Mini.
Manual transmissions account for as much as 41 percent of the mix for some models, such as the high-performance John Cooper Works cars. But Mini will start the 2020 model year this fall without a manual transmission available in any of its vehicles.
A change to the fuel delivery system in 2020 Minis, which start production in July, caused the hiccup in output of cars with manuals. Mini spokesman Andrew Cutler said engineers are working to recalibrate and test 2020 Minis with manual transmissions to ensure they meet EPA emissions standards.
Cutler said the rest of the 2020 Minis will arrive on time in the fall with an automatic transmission, or an optional, new dual-clutch automatic, which the driver can shift manually.
"When you look at Mini, we are a bit of a rare breed. We offer a manual in every model variant we offer. We still want to maintain that unique offering in the market," he said.
Cutler would not give an estimate on how long the delay would last, saying only that the manual transmission was expected to be in the lineup sometime during the model year. Overall, about 11 percent of Minis are sold with a manual transmission.
"We're working quickly to bring them back online. We understand it's important to offer a manual transmission to performance enthusiast Mini customers," he said. Most Mini dealers, he added, have a good supply of 2019 Minis with manual transmissions in stock or available.