Press release


MINI USA announces return of manual transmissions in more models, and the opening of its manual driving school for eager drivers looking to learn how to drive “stick”

Thermal, CA,  February 9, 2023. Offering a fun and engaging experience behind the wheel, driving a manual transmission car is an art that many drivers are still familiar with, but few have the opportunity to practice today. To better understand consumer insights around manual transmissions, MINI USA recently conducted a consumer survey to find out just how people feel about manual transmissions today. Commissioned by Engine’s CARAVAN®, the survey found a few indicators that were both surprising and optimistic that show manual driving still has an opportunity to shine.
Validating the appeal of driving a manual transmission car, an impressive 63% of all respondents agree that learning how to drive a manual transmission is a rite of passage and an important life skill. Additionally, “fun to drive” was the top characteristic respondents most associated with a manual transmission vehicle. However, despite this, less than a quarter (24%) of all respondents indicated they own a manual-equipped car.
Regarding consumers’ knowledge of how to drive a manual, nearly half of all Gen Z (49%) and 42% of all women indicated they did not know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. When asked if they were willing to learn, more than half of all respondents (53%) indicated they are interested in learning.  Impressively, two thirds (67%) of younger respondents aged 18-34 were most eager to learn to drive a manual transmission car.
These results show a clear opportunity to impart the fun and engaging element of driving a manual to current and upcoming generations of drivers.  It comes at a time when MINI USA is announcing the return of more models available with manual transmissions.  As of November 2022 production, MINI USA announced the return of manuals in its Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works 2-door hardtops.  MINI is now pleased to announce four additional models that will be available with a manual transmission. They include:
  1. MINI Cooper Convertible
  2. MINI Cooper S Convertible
  3. MINI Cooper 4-Door Hardtop
  4. MINI Cooper S 4-Door Hardtop
Ordering for these four additional models have opened effective this week, and will begin production March 1, bringing the total count of MINI models offered with a manual transmission to seven.
Offering drivers the opportunity to learn to drive a manual, MINI USA in conjunction with the BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal, CA, announced plans in November to launch a dedicated school.  Effective February 8th, 2023, registration for the MINI Manual Driving School is now open with the course available at a cost of $499.
This school is designed to welcome a new generation of manual drivers while allowing others to sharpen their skills after years of driving automatic.  The school creates a foundation for drivers to build their comfort with driving manual transmission vehicles, with a 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.
To learn more and register for the MINI Manual Driving School, see here.

Survey Methodology
The General Population survey was conducted among a sample of 1,012 adults, all 18 years of age and older on behalf of MINI USA. The online omnibus study was conducted from January 18-20, 2023.
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 104 MINI full passenger car sales and service dealers 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.
Journalist notes: Media information about MINI and its products is available to journalists on-line at