The manual transmission has been dying a slow death, gradually replaced by automatic and dual-clutch gearboxes. And the latest blow comes from Audi.
According to Car and Driver, the German automaker has dropped the last of its stick-shift cars from its US lineup. Those, specifically, were the A4 and the A5, both of which will only offer automatic transmissions for 2019.
The culprit isn’t some concerted campaign against the third pedal. As you might have guessed, it comes down to customer demand – of which there apparently isn’t enough for Audi to continue offering manuals in the United States. C/D reports that only five percent of A4 buyers in the US have opted for the manual.
Audi isn’t the only one, of course. Its sister brand Lamborghini discontinued offering manual transmissions on the previous Gallardo, and never offered them on the Huracan that replaced it – much less on the larger Aventador or the new Urus. Bentley and Bugatti don’t offer any manuals either – but Porsche has made a point of it, even developing a new seven-speed manual for the 911 a few years back. And Volkswagen continues offering manual versions of the Golf and Jetta.
Rival automaker Mercedes-Benz essentially did away with its last manual option in the US a couple of years ago after rebranding the SLK as the SLC. BMW, however, continues offering stick-shift options on certain 2, 3, 4, and 6 Series models. As does Jaguar on the F-Type, Cadillac on certain versions of the ATS, and Hyundai’s Genesis brand on the G70. Those few models, however, stand more as the exceptions than the rule – particularly when it comes to luxury automobiles, whose customers evidently aren’t keen to row their own gears.