Having made the announcement less than two years ago, a new report from Germany has claimed that Mercedes-Benz will, regardless of the market, no longer avail any of its models with a manual transmission after next year.
While largely phased-out in a number of markets already, the three-pointed star still offers three-pedals as standard on mainly the entry-level versions of the A-Class, B-Class and CLA, as well as on the Citan, Vito and Sprinter vans.
With the introduction of the automatic only W206 generation C-Class though, Stuttgart’s manual model count now stands at six following the dropping of the six-speed manual on the E-Class four years ago, and the end of the SLK/SLC in 2020.
Making the original announcement in 2020, Benz’s Head of Research and Development, Markus Schäfer, told Britain’s Autocar, “We’re going to reduce future products, reduce platforms substantially, combustion engines will be very dramatically reduced and we will eliminate the manual transmission”.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe’s German outlet, Automobilwoche this week, an unnamed Mercedes-Benz spokesperson stated, “With increasing electrification, we see that customer demand is shifting towards electric mobility components, batteries and (partially) electric drive systems. [Therefore, Mercedes-Benz will] gradually no longer offer manual transmissions”.
According to a related report by Germany’s Stuttgarter Zeitung, 2023 has been set as the year, despite no actual official confirmation from Mercedes-Benz itself.
Locally, only the Vito and Sprinter are still fitted with a manual ‘box as the last passenger models to offer a clutch pedal came in the form of the last generation A-Class, as well as the C180 and C200 versions of the W205 C-Class.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz has never equipped one of its AMG models with a manual gearbox, a trait it now shares with German arch-rival Audi, whose current line-up of S and RS models are automatic only.
Out of the German Big Three, only BMW offers a row-it-yourself option on the M3 and M4 and on the upcoming M2.