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While speaking with my MINI dealer today to find out what’s the latest regarding delivery dates and allocation numbers (no new news) he mentioned something that I thought was really weird.

He said that when the dealership’s demo MINI Coopers arrive in March, he expects almost all of them to be automatics rather than 5 speeds. :confused: That stunned me. I told him I thought that was very strange. But he said most of the people on the dealership’s waiting list for the standard Coopers were ‘older’ and demanded automatics rather than manual shift cars. This is the first I’ve heard of this.

I told him my thoughts were that the spread of automatics vs. manuals for the MINI would be similar to the Miata’s – something like 90-95% of all Miatas in the US are manual shift – and among the hardcore Miata enthusiasts, automatic Miatas are basically viewed as only being fit for those drivers who have a true physical impairment preventing them from using a clutch. Otherwise, why have a fun car if you’re not going to participate in the driving of it?

After I hung up with him I started to wonder: Is this just an assumption based on the way a typical BMW is delivered from the dealership – more automatics than manuals?

And who are these ‘older’ MINI buyers he mentioned? I realize ‘older’ is a relative term, (and I’ve never met this salesman in person, so he may be in his 20’s and older to him might be some buyer 35 years old :) ), but if someone was passionate enough about the MINI to get on the waiting list early on, it’s hard for me to believe the majority of them would prefer an automatic MINI.

I guess time will tell if most MINI Coopers sold in the US will be automatics.

(My apologies to those of you who prefer automatics. I understand the MINI’s automatic is not your typical automatic and is the best of both worlds. However, I choose to do my own shifting the old fashioned way. And, yes I know Formula One now uses automatics, but that’s to win races, not to reinforce the joy of driving)
 

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I guess I'm in the "older" category (i.e. 50) - but I, like you, wouldn't have even considered that any more that "a slim few" would consider an automatic MINI!!:confused:
 

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BruceK said:
While speaking with my MINI dealer today ....

"He said that when the dealership’s demo MINI Coopers arrive in March, he expects almost all of them to be automatics rather than 5 speeds. :confused: ....

...Otherwise, why have a fun car if you’re not going to participate in the driving of it?..."

EXACTLY!!!

"...Is this just an assumption based on the way a typical BMW is delivered from the dealership – more automatics than manuals?"

I have read that the majority of BMW's (at least 3 series) sold in the US were manual.

My daughter will be 20 in two days - Am I old??? :eek:
 

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I can't believe it either. I know here in the U.S. most people like automatics, but it makes no sense in a car like the MINI. Maybe the MINI is going to take Buick's place in the over 60's category...haha!
In light of the recent forum controversy does this leave room open for a new forum thread: "Is the new MINI a Geriatric car?"
 

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Could I as a question

As most cars in the USA are automatic, I assume most driver just learn to drive automatic cars. However should you then wish to drive a manual, do you need to take your test again or will you current licence be sufficient?

Cheers

LMB:D
 

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Doesn't sound correct to me. Aren't most of the people on lists looking for an "S"? That's the way it is for two of the lists around here. Each have around 50 deposits, with only 2 or 3 for Coopers. Now, being that the "S" doesn't come in an automatic, that statistic sounds way off to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Garfield said:
Doesn't sound correct to me. Aren't most of the people on lists looking for an "S"? That's the way it is for two of the lists around here. Each have around 50 deposits, with only 2 or 3 for Coopers. Now, being that the "S" doesn't come in an automatic, that statistic sounds way off to me.
Yes, the discussion I had today with the dealership excluded the Cooper S because, of course, it is only available with the 6 speed (keeps the riff-raff out :D)

The salesman maintained that most of the people on the list for a standard Cooper wanted automatics. I'm not sure if the customer's choice of transmission was asked when people were placed on the waiting list when the deposit was taken, or if it is just an assumption on the part of the sales staff. I wasn't asked about my transmission choice when I made my deposit, but as I specified I wanted a Cooper S there was not a reason to ask me.
 

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When I put my deposit down for a Cooper - that wasn't a question that was asked.

(LMB - no you don't have to retake your test.)
 

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Actually, what the dealer told you is quite logical for the U.S. market. The Cooper S is more coveted, but it only comes in manual shift. So anyone who wants an automatic transmission is left with the Cooper. Many people choosing Coopers are doing so for that reason, that it offers the automatic transmission. (Not to mention that additional options add to the price of the vehicle, which is not a bad thing if you're selling them.)

Stop-and-go city driving with a clutch isn't the most enjoyable thing in the world, and unfortunately that's the kind of driving I'm stuck with every day. So I do plan to get a CVT Steptronic Cooper. To each his own.
 

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Re: Could I as a question

LMB said:
As most cars in the USA are automatic, I assume most driver just learn to drive automatic cars. However should you then wish to drive a manual, do you need to take your test again or will you current licence be sufficient?

Cheers

LMB:D
Actually LMB, not only do you not have to take a test again to start driving a manual but here in the States one hardly has to pass a test at all! My test (granted it was 28 years ago) was like this; Tester talking to me - "go up here and take a right. Turn right at the next stop sign. Turn right at the light. Get in the left lane and don't forget to check your mirror. turn left into the parking lot. Passed"

If this makes you afraid to come here and drive - It should!
 

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It's not your average auto though?

Agree it sounds very odd that the majority of US cars will be auto. However it's not a basic 3/4 cog auto box. It's steptronic with a manual, semi-auto sport mode. If it had paddles behind the steering wheel instead of the gear lever (stick shift) would you still be this suprised?
 

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Since moving from the UK to Australia, I have always driven automatics, simply because "most" of the driving i do these days is around Brisbane where it's mostly all duel lanes and hundreds and hundreds of traffic lights, and manuals are a bit of a pain in the leg.

When I first read about the possibility of the "Cooper S" in CAR (June 2001) it said that it would be offered with a six speed getrag gearbox or lever operated SMG. (Sequential Manual Gearbox)

The SMG has not eventuated (yet) so Getrag gearbox it will be. I think the manual gearbox will simply make the MINI more fun to drive anyway, especially a short shift one.
I would have seriously considered the steptronic box in a Cooper. Different animal to the S.

Just as a side piece, if the SMG is announced tomorrow, I would definately go for it. Wouldn't care what it cost.
 

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Hi,

I have test driven the Cooper automatic. In many ways the CVT/spectronic type transmission appears to suit the engine better than the manual. You seem to get usable torque lower down. In addition there is a sport setting on the CVT, which makes power more accessable and also gives a lovely rorty note to the engine. (Heaven knows what it does to the MPG rates though).

If BMW manage to sort out the bloody awful seats, pulling to the left and haunted car electronics, in the next few months we will buy a Cooper with CVT. If they don't, well I will spend our money elsewhere.

cheers
Marsh
 

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It's often difficult to get a vehicle in the U.S. that doesn't have an automatic transmission. I wonder if a lot of the factory spec. Coopers will be delivered with auto trans? Based on what the "average" american driver wants this may be true.
On the other hand, those of holding out for an S won't be caught dead in the "average" column.:D
 

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Re: Re: Could I as a question

MINIMiller said:
Actually LMB, not only do you not have to take a test again to start driving a manual but here in the States one hardly has to pass a test at all! My test (granted it was 28 years ago) was like this; Tester talking to me - "go up here and take a right. Turn right at the next stop sign. Turn right at the light. Get in the left lane and don't forget to check your mirror. turn left into the parking lot. Passed"
Truth be told my test wasn't to taxing either :D They have toughened things up a bit here though. People now have to do a written examination first before they can take their actual driving test.

If this makes you afraid to come here and drive - It should!
I am more afraid of the tourists who come from England and drive in the states. One time when I was on holiday there, I saw a Police car that had stopped a car that was just about to join the Freeway on the wrong side of the road. Now that was scary:eek:

LMB:D
 

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tsipple said:
Actually, what the dealer told you is quite logical for the U.S. market. The Cooper S is more coveted, but it only comes in manual shift. So anyone who wants an automatic transmission is left with the Cooper. Many people choosing Coopers are doing so for that reason, that it offers the automatic transmission.
I agree with Timothy & think this is the reason, too

...That and the trendy paddle shift, which makes the stick-shift wannabes think they are one-up:rolleyes:
 

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I didnt think that the 'YANKS' (soory for that) liked manuals much, I mean come on have you that scene in PRETTY WOMAN when RICHARD GERE is driving that Lotus :D :D :D :D
 

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Cape Cod MINI said:
I wonder if a lot of the factory spec. Coopers will be delivered with auto trans?
Err... the automatic option here isn't exactly a no cost option, (not that I wanted one y'understand). Its ~£1500 extra. I can't really see how it could be standard factory spec, or at least if it is standard factory spec for you lot, well, you're going to be paying over the odds for the manuals. (They're pretty unlikely to cut the price for you. They'll just pocket the difference).

Maybe there are some advantages to being in the beta test market! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Crashandburn said:


Err... the automatic option here isn't exactly a no cost option, (not that I wanted one y'understand). Its ~£1500 extra. I can't really see how it could be standard factory spec, or at least if it is standard factory spec for you lot, well, you're going to be paying over the odds for the manuals. (They're pretty unlikely to cut the price for you. They'll just pocket the difference).

Maybe there are some advantages to being in the beta test market! :D
The Steptronic won't be a no cost option here in the US, but I was saying that my dealer expects it to be fitted on the first cars the factory sends over -- before people start ordering their own cars. But there will be definitely be a charge for this option. It may be £1,500 in the UK, but here it will be $1,250 or about £870.
 

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I agree with Marsh the auto is fantastic if the BMW technicians that I have me love the auto and think it works better than the BMW systems.

But... I got the Cooper S brochure yesterday and I want one! But I only have an auto licence does anyone know or think dealers and all that an auto variant would be produced?

james
 
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