MINI has confirmed that it will bring back manual transmissions to several of its models in United States after they were made unavailable beginning with July production this year, according to a report by Car and Driver.

“Starting early February 2020, customers will be able to resume ordering MINI hardtop and convertible models equipped with manual transmissions from March 2020 production,” Andrew Cutler, head of corporate communications MINI USA, told the media outlet. The Clubman and Countryman models will get the transmission option later on from July 2020.

However, MINI models equipped with all-wheel drive will no longer be offered with a manual, and this extends to almost all John Cooper Works variants, with the exception of the MINI John Cooper Works Hardtop.

According to Cutler, the more powerful JCW cars in the line-up (Clubman All4 and Countryman All4) – both with 301 hp and 449 Nm – would have required a sturdier manual gearbox to cope with the increased output, which isn’t an issue with the JCW Hardtop that has 228 hp and 320 Nm.

The temporary halt in sales of manual transmissions is specific to North America, and was necessitated by updates made to the fuel-delivery system in order to improve efficiency and increase injection pressure. These revisions required additional testing and optimisation, leaving just the seven-speed dual-clutch and eight-speed automatic as the only transmissions offered to customers for the time.

While manual transmissions may have fallen out of favour among car buyers in other markets, this is not the case with MINI customers in the US. In fact, 45% of buyers preferred having a six-speed manual on the MINI Cooper S Hardtop 2 Door, with the model having the highest manual take-up rate in MINI’s line-up.

“There is a segment of the customer base that prefers driving with a manual transmission, so we do want to maintain that for the component of our customers who expect that,” explained Cutler, who added that customers cite “fun to drive” as their main reason for buying a MINI. “We are going to continue to ensure that we’ve got manuals when and where possible,” he continued.