Mercedes-Benz Abandons Manual Transmission, Sticks With Streamlining

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As the manual transmission gradually joins the wheel-mounted throttle lever in the automotive history trash bin, we’ve been wondering which manufacture would be the next to take a bold stance against be-clutched vehicles. Today we have our answer, thanks to a tweet explaining the brand’s research boss had indicated Mercedes-Benz doesn’t have room for manuals in its current restructuring program.

“The head of @MercedesBenz’s R&D operations, Markus Schaefer, has confirmed the company will ‘eliminate manual transmissions’ as part of cost-cutting initiatives that will also see a ‘substantial reduction in platforms’ and a ‘very dramatic reduction in combustion engines,’” automotive journalist Greg Kable explained via social media on Tuesday.

Considering yours truly hasn’t seen a manual Mercedes in the wild manufactured after 2002, this news probably isn’t knocking anyone out of their chair. In fact, the company hasn’t been selling manual optioned cars in the United States for several years.

Trying to consolidate models onto fewer platforms isn’t much of a shocker either. Mercedes-Benz actually opened the year by stating that it would be reducing the number of cars, engines, and platforms available to customers to ensure it had enough money to transition into an electric automotive brand. “We are reviewing our product portfolio, especially as we announced so many pure EVs,” Schafer said in March. “Knowing the complexity after the growth in the last couple of years means we are definitely reviewing our current lineup. The idea is to streamline  taking car variants out, but also platforms, powertrains, and components.”

Schafer said that, while Daimler’s plan was not to eliminate V8 and V12 engines from the Mercedes lineup, the company would ultimately have to utilize four-cylinder engines at a much higher frequency  especially if its ultimate goal is to prioritize EV sales moving forward. Meanwhile, the number of platforms the company uses should shrink immensely, leaving a few bases upon which to build the majority of its vehicles from. While this will undoubtedly save the brand a mint that can be reinvested into costly EV development, it kind of makes it sound like the next generation of internal combustion cars are going to be virtually identical to each other with tepid powertrain and sizing options being the only items setting them apart.

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