Driving a manual transmission vehicle is a unique and captivating experience, but it is an increasingly rare skill. To better understand consumer sentiment towards manual transmissions, Mini USA recently conducted a consumer survey.
The survey, conducted by Engine’s Caravan, found that 63 percent of respondents agreed that learning how to drive a manual transmission is a rite of passage and an important life skill. Additionally, the top characteristic that respondents associated with manual transmission vehicles was “fun to drive”.
However, only 24 percent of respondents stated that they currently own a manual transmission vehicle. Nearly half of all Gen Z respondents (49 percent) and 42 percent of all women reported not knowing how to drive a manual transmission vehicle. Nonetheless, 53 percent of all respondents indicated that they are willing to learn. Interestingly, 67 percent of respondents aged 18-34 expressed the greatest interest in learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle.
In response to these findings, Mini USA is expanding its manual transmission offering starting March 1, 2023. Four additional Mini models will be available with manual transmission, including the Mini Cooper Convertible, Mini Cooper S Convertible, Mini Cooper 4-Door Hardtop, and Mini Cooper S 4-Door Hardtop. This brings the total number of Mini models offered with manual transmission to seven in the US.
In an effort to encourage the next generation of manual drivers, Mini USA has partnered with BMW Group Performance Center West in Thermal, CA, to launch the Mini Manual Driving School. School enrollments open from February 8, 2023, with a course price of $499.
The Mini Manual Driving School aims to equip drivers with the necessary foundation to build their comfort with manual transmission, with a curriculum that covers vehicle control, finding friction points, practicing smooth starts and stops, acceleration and much more. At the end of the course, participants will be tested on a timed course to assess their knowledge.