For years, we’ve heard and read about the dismissal of the manual transmission in BMW cars. There was even a campaign initiated by Car and Driver in 2010 – Save The Manuals! – yet seven years later, BMW still offers the beloved gearbox in many of its products, including in most of the M cars.
But the marriage with manuals might be over soon. At the 2017 Geneva Motor, Ian Robertson, BMW Board member in charge of sales and marketing, said that hinted at a future with less manual transmissions.
“Across the world, virtually all of our 3-series [models] and above already have automatic transmissions,” Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing, told us when we sat down with him at the Geneva auto show. “China never had any manual transmissions; they went straight to auto. The U.S. is predominantly auto, and more and more of Europe is as well. We will certainly see fewer and fewer manual transmissions being offered.”
Robertson also added that for now smaller cars are safe, with no immediate plans to get rid of the clutch pedal in MINI or in the BMW 1 Series. But if sales of stick-shift 3 Series and 4 Series cars continue to slide, it seems likely the option will die out.
The M segment is the one important to BMW purists and as expected, BMW will make some changes there as well.
“In the M segment,” Robertson said, “purists still love the stick shift, and we will continue to cater for that. Whether we offer it in every model remains to be seen. In some instances, it is selling in really small numbers now.”