Press release


MINI USA is bringing back manual transmissions and celebrating with a manual driving course at the BMW Performance Center

Thermal, CA,  November 3, 2022. MINI USA is bringing back the fun of driving a manual transmission by launching a new MINI Manual Driving School at the BMW Performance Center in Thermal, Calif. The announcement comes shortly after MINI USA confirmed the manual transmissions would return to specific MINI models for November production.
While the manual transmission has fallen to the wayside for many drivers over time, the excitement and passion for driving a manual has never faltered. To expand the accessibility and fun of driving a manual, MINI USA is offering a manual driving school that is open to any drivers looking for the opportunity to learn to drive manual in an engaging and safe atmosphere. 
The BMW Group Performance Center West will be the exclusive location for the MINI Manual Driving School. Through the team of their experienced instructors, the school will incorporate both a classroom portion and a hands-on driving experience at the on-site test track. Since 1999, the BMW Performance Center has instructed over 500,000 participants at its two locations in Thermal, Calif., and Greenville, SC, through a wide range of driving courses.  In 2016 it added MINI driving programs, and now plans to expand its instruction to teach students the fun of driving a manual.
MINI owners have long valued the manual transmission models offered by the brand. This initiative welcomes a new generation of manual drivers while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic. The course is designed to create a foundation for drivers to build their comfort with driving manual transmission vehicles, with the curriculum that focuses on vehicle controls, finding the friction point, practicing smooth starts, stops, acceleration, and more. At the conclusion of the course, participants will be tested on a timed course to assess the driver's knowledge. 
’’For over a decade, consumers have ranked MINI as the most fun to drive brand in America, which is exactly why we brought back the manual transmission,’’ said Rah Mahtani,  Brand Communications Manager, MINI USA. ‘’The course is not only informative but also a fun and challenging learning experience for a new generation of MINI drivers that they will remember forever. ’’ 
The experience of manual vehicles goes far beyond the look and feel but focuses on the enjoyment of the drive. For most consumers, the opportunity to drive a manual is limited by their ability to learn how. With the BMW Group Performance Center classes, MINI is giving its audience the confidence to take their vehicles out on the open road and enjoy the experience to the fullest extent. 

About MINI in the US
MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC, located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and includes the marketing and sales organizations for the MINI brand. The authorized MINI USA dealer organization is represented by a network of 115 locations comprised of 105 MINI full passenger car sales and service dealers and 10 service exclusive outlets located throughout the US. MINI USA began selling vehicles in the U.S. in 2002 with the introduction of the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S Hardtops. Since then, the MINI Brand in the U.S. has grown to encompass a model range of five unique vehicles.
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