Mercedes-Benz is phasing out the manual transmission from 2023

The manual transmission is basically as good as dead for quite some time now, but Mercedes-Benz might have just put the final nail in the coffin for the three pedals. Starting 2023, the German carmaker will be gradually phasing out the manual transmission from its model range, citing low customer demand.

Speaking to German publication Automobilwoche, a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson argued that “with increasing electrification, we see that customer demand is shifting towards electric mobility components, batteries and (partially) electric drive systems”. As such, the company will be culling the manual transmission on a model-by-model basis, as they are updated to a new model generation.

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s been keeping up with the three-pointed star recently; the all-new C-Class, unveiled last year, is already an all-automatic affair.

Even in its current line-up, the only models to offer a manual transmission option are the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA – and only on the entry-level variants with the lesser powertrain options, which are not available in many markets, Malaysia being an example.

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With demand for the three pedals dwindling, it makes economic sense for Mercedes-Benz to stop investment into the manual transmission and focus solely on automatics, streamlining its production operations.

Economics are obviously the main concern here, as Mercedes-Benz has committed most of its investments into readying an EV-only portfolio by the end of the decade. The German carmaker has already unveiled two electrification-focused platforms for its future models, and the combustion engine models to be unveiled before the EV switchover will actually be based on these two architectures, instead of the other way round.

Mercedes-Benz is, of course, not the first manufacturer to formally bid adieu to the three pedals. Volkswagen has also (unofficially) given the manual gearbox a 2023 deadline, and while even though BMW hasn’t said it yet, its manual offerings are also quietly being discontinued by the day.

With the clutch pedal now on its last legs, maybe it’s time to for us to really put our money where our mouth is and splash out the cash for the manual Toyota Supra, or perhaps even the BMW M3 and M4.


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