Are automatic transmissions the way of the future? With more and more carmakers dropping manual transmissions, and more and more customers opting not to purchase models with a one, it could be that manuals will soon be few and far between. In 2018, manual transmissions made up only 2% of all car sales in the U.S. And only 20% of all 2018 models offered a manual transmission option.
While automatic transmissions are generally thought to have for worse fuel economy, less reliability and greater repair complexity, that could be changing. The new automatic transmissions are making cars faster and more efficient. Also, more and more Americans are unable to drive a stick so lack of skills is leading most people to purchase an automatic.
Will Some Auto Makers Decide to get Rid of Manual Transmissions?
The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE is Chevy’s newest version of their muscle car, and the carmaker says it is faster than ever. The new model is half a second faster than the previous manual options, and on test tracks, it shaved several seconds off lap times. The new automatic transmission is the same as the one in the 2019 Camaro SS, with a gearbox that was co-developed by GM and Ford (you’ll also find the same gearbox in the Ford Mustang).
The new automatic transmission shifts faster than the old manual transmission, and it reduces the workload for drivers. In the ZL1 1LE, Chevy has recalibrated the dampers, the traction control system, and the electronic limited-slip differential to help account for the automatic transmission. They’ve also added a transmission oil pan and an additional cooling duct to keep temperatures in check.
Although the new 2020 Jaguar F type is sporting a higher price tag, they have eliminated the manual transmission to meet customer demand. The manual transmission had few takers in the past, so Jaguar is trying to boost sales. So few buyers opted for the F type’s manual transmission since its introduction in 2016 that Jaguar decided it was a no go (only about 4% of buyers opted for the manual). While it was one of the carmaker’s most affordable options, customers weren’t crazy about the transmission. Both the U.S. and Canada will notice the absence of the manual option, but in the U.K., the carmaker’s home country, the manual transmission will still be available. As for the price increase, customers will notice the new automatic transmission will cost a bit more (around $1,000 per model).
And, some automakers have decided not to offer manual transmissions anymore because they simply can’t handle 400-plus-horsepower powertrains. Automatic transmissions can engage and lock up without destroying themselves and shift faster than humans can. But still, all is not lost. If you are a manual transmission enthusiast, there are still plenty of carmakers who offer a six-speed.