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Volkswagen to slowly phase out manual gearboxes - report

Published Aug 30, 2021


WOLFSBURG - It’s no secret that manual gearboxes are becoming a less common sight in modern vehicles as buyers continue to gravitate towards automatics.

Some premium car brands, such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes (passenger cars), have already phased out manual transmissions. However, it looks like some mainstream brands are also getting ready to ditch the stick.

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According to Auto Motor und Sport, Volkswagen will gradually eliminate manual gearboxes from its cars, starting with the next-generation Tiguan and Passat models in 2023. The German publication says that by 2030 Volkswagen will no longer launch new models with manual options in key markets such as Europe, China and the USA.

Although the shift to electric vehicles will eventually sound the death knell for manual gearboxes anyway, it appears Volkswagen will eliminate manuals long before it completely abandons internal combustion. This reason for this, Auto Motor und Sport says, is to save on development costs. This will likely come hand in hand with a reduction in the number of internal combustion options available. Volkswagen wants to stop selling ICE models in Europe by 2035, although they will continue for a bit longer in other markets.

Most Volkswagen model derivatives in South Africa are already fitted with auto gearboxes. In fact only the Polo Vivo, Polo, T-Cross, Caddy, Transporter and Amarok are still offered with traditional manual transmissions. In total, VWSA offers 29 models with manual gearboxes, versus 47 DSGs or automatics.

The elimination of manuals, while making complete sense from a supply/demand perspective could however make the brand’s entry models a bit more expensive. For instance, a Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG model currently sells for R16 500 more than the manual equivalent. The cheapest auto model that VWSA offers currently is the Polo Vivo 1.6 Comfortline auto, which sells for R270 800, and it doesn’t have a manual equivalent.

IOL Motoring

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