<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=998375496925788&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Acuity Menu

The Manual. An endangered species.

Manual Gearbox

Three years ago was the first-time automatic cars outsold manuals in the UK. Not necessarily anything noteworthy you may think? But it was actually the beginning of the end.

You see although manuals are cheaper to produce, they aren’t the most efficient to run. And in the drive to cut CO2 emissions that is a significant issue for manufacturers.

In 2020 Mercedes-Benz AG confirmed it would be the first major European car maker to stop producing manual gearboxes altogether. Others have followed Genesis, Ferrari, JLR, Lexus, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Subaru and Volvo Cars. But things have stepped up a gear now with electrification, because by 2035, we won’t be allowed to buy manual cars at all.

That ban will of course only restrict the sale of petrol and diesel cars. Those already on the road can of course continue to be driven. So, manual cars won’t instantly disappear, but they’re on the endangered list.

A side effect of this is the impact it’s having on driving tests. You see learner drivers (and very often their parents) are now questioning the value of taking lessons for the full manual driving test.

As a result, there’s been a rapid rise in requests for auto-only training, with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) seeing 324,064 automatic-only driving tests performed in 2022–2023 as opposed to 87,844 in 2012–2013, an almost fourfold increase.

A 2023 The Motor Ombudsman commissioned YouGov poll showed fans of the automatic gearbox cited a less tiring driving experience, especially in stop-start traffic was the main driver for respondents choosing this type of transmission.

Whatever the reason, according to Howard Redwood of Driving Instructors Association (DIA) this growth has led to driving instructors buying automatic cars, meaning it will become increasingly difficult for learners to find manual driving lessons.

And according to Carwow in 2022 less than a third of new cars could be ordered with a manual gearbox. Sadly as manual driving becomes more niche, the number of people able to keep classics cars on the road will also diminish.

If you were taking driving lessons now what transmission would you choose?

If you work within automotive sales, be it a retailer or at brand level, or for a driving school brand or franchise we’d love to understand your view and talk to you about the future of automotive in the UK. Why not schedule a FREE 30-minute conversation today here? It will be well worth your time.

Or alternatively read more about Local Marketing on our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog


savethemanual automotive electrification classiccars

Listen instead?

Check out the rest on

We think you'll like.

19 March 2024 By Mike Darvill

Focus on internal comms.

14 March 2024 By Peter Cronin

Strategies to attract local customers.

12 March 2024 By Graeme Airey

A Creative Blueprint. Part 2.

Contact us.
We love to talk local.

Whether you’ve got a brief ready to go, or just want to talk to someone about your local business marketing challenges, drop us a message and we’ll get back to you within one to two business days.

01923 244 241
info@weareacuity.com