So much for the British-German automaker’s undying love for stick shifts…
For years and years, we’ve heard endlessly from Mini fans how the brand is the true choice for enthusiasts. It’s obviously not because Minis are laying down tons of power and roasting tires, but instead because they’re agile and you get the fun of rowing through the gears for any model in the lineup. But Mini has finally decided to ditch manual transmissions instead of saving them.
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That’s right, this isn’t some dirty rumor but instead was divulged by Mini’s top boss, Stefanie Wurst, in a recent interview with Top Gear. When the next generation Minis launch, stick shifts will be dropped entirely from the lineup as the brand turns its back on one of the last groups who have been keeping it afloat.
Really, it’s a brilliant business move if the whole point is to make Mini pointless. We’ve driven many Minis throughout the years and quite frankly, the snappy little stick shifts were the highlight of the experience every time. Take that away and there’s just no truly redeemable qualities to a Mini.
Automakers unfortunately have a track record of straying from their roots, becoming something that didn’t make them popular or successful in the first place. In the case of Mini, we wouldn’t say the brand has been all that successful since BMW bought it, with sales struggling as time progresses, so perhaps that’s why the Germans are willing to take this gamble.
Also, the sad truth is so many drivers these days don’t know how to use a manual transmission and don’t want to learn. They seem to think it’s akin to crank-starting the engine on a car, an anachronism that we should gladly leave in the past. Sad.
It’s just too bad Mini is bowing to the pressure.
Images via Mini USA