What the heck Mini? Why do you hate the US?
We recently reported that Mini was about to improve its product lineup with a new dual-clutch transmission. This was exciting news, because we thought that it would help Mini become the most competitive company in the small hot hatchback segment. This segment is shrinking in the US after the slow death of the wonderful Ford Fiesta ST. Only the Fiat 500 Abarth remains in the segment, which, incidentally, we believe should only be ordered with the five-speed manual rather than the optional six-speed automatic.
Like most enthusiasts, we prefer the manual option unless it is a dual-clutch unit, like in the Volkswagen Golf R. The dual-clutch transmission was going to give us a huge reason to recommend a Mini, but unfortunately this new transmission won't be coming to the US. Motor1 reports that the US won't receive this transmission because it "takes up lots of capacity." This according to Mini USA Communications Manager, Mariella Kapsaskis. The US may eventually get this transmission as an option, but for now it will be forbidden fruit. One reason why Mini won't sell the transmission here is that sales volume in the US went down 10.3% percent in 2017. In contrast, Mini's global sales went up by 3 percent.
Mini is one of the only brands to offer a manual transmission on all of its models, but the US isn't a big market for manuals. We think that a dual-clutch transmission could bring a lot of enthusiast buyers to the brand who don't want the hassle of driving a manual. But hey, what do we know? We guess that enthusiasts will continue to turn to the hot hatch king, the Volkswagen Golf GTI.