Audi Discontinues All Manual Transmission Cars in the US, And Loses a Lifelong Customer
Image This car isn't a car without a manual transmission

Audi Discontinues All Manual Transmission Cars in the US, And Loses a Lifelong Customer

I drive an Audi. I like Audis. By and large, they are the most “fun to drive” of the mainstream car brands on the market. And, I became committed after being in an accident in one in Hamburg in 1999.

But, my continued commitment to Audi relied on the cars continuing to be fun to drive. And, for a car to be fun to drive, it inherently must allow the driver to be connected to the road. For me, that means that the driver has to be left to row his or her own gears.

A couple of years ago, Audi expanded the offerings on its A4 manual transmission cars and this year it re-introduced manual into the A5 coupe. It was tough to get excited about either of these cars. (When I drove the A5 manual, it felt divorced from the road, but I believe that is because of the nature of the car and not the manual transmission). Yet, all signs were that Audi understood the market for manual transmission cars in the US. The fact that there were 2 manual models in the US gave manual transmission aficionados like me some hope that in 2019 they might offer a manual S3 or a manual TT.

Not so. According to Car and Driver, that hope has now been crushed with the announcement by Audi that they will not offer any more manuals in the US.

While I wish Audi would offer Americans what they offer European, it is hard to fault them or VW, Audi’s parent, for their actions. The manual market today in the US is not mainstream with the take rate apparently being under 5%. Since this the current Administration is about to level heavy tariffs on German car manufacturers, Audi is likely preparing to offer fewer options so that the cars that come into this country move off of lots faster.

If BMW car survive this affront and continue to offer manuals, I suppose my next car is going to be from their line-up. This is terribly unfortunate. I find BMWs’ interiors to be impractical and I find them to be uncomfortable cars to drive long distances. Even worse, everyone will think I am ostentatious like most others who drive BMWs.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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  • Robert Sizemore

    August 19, 2018

    I hate to burst your bubble, but I don't see manuals being offered at all in 3 years. Nobody under 40 knows how to drive one and they are inconsistent with autonomous driving.

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