Today's motorists seem to prefer reliable, high-utility vehicles to the muscle-bound driving machines of yesteryear. Safety, gas mileage, and low auto insurance rates are now top priorities. In response to this trend, manufacturers are moving away from offering manual transmission options on many of their models. With automatic gearboxes on the rise, does the stick shift stand a chance in a market dominated by simplicity and convenience?
Sales numbers show a drop in popularity
The manual gearbox is undoubtedly losing steam as the 21st century speeds onward. According to AutoCar, only 7 percent of vehicles sold in the United States this past year featured a manual transmission. Even so, many motorists are opting to keep the nostalgic feel of a manual. Now, they don't have to compromise the simplicity of an automatic. Paddle-shifters allow drivers to maintain the control of a manual transmission while removing the complexities of a clutch and stick shift.
"They can cope with the increasing power and torque demands we put on them and, on the rational side, they're more efficient than manuals," head of AMG Tobias Moers told the news source about this hybrid transmission technology. "The paddles are also more practical when you're really pushing and the system is more relaxing to use when you aren't. There are just fewer compromises."
Dual-clutch transmission will likely become industry standard
Drivers like options, and with the speed, smoothness, and fuel-efficiency guaranteed by dual-clutch transmissions, it is easy to see why so many experts are predicting the success of this new innovation. While this development may seem to suggest that manual gearboxes are on their way out, Automobile Mag recently suggested that this technology will likely replace automatic transmissions instead. And, purists will still seek the excitement and control offered by manual transmission, which simply cannot be replicated by paddle-shifters.