Will VW retire the Manual Gearbox?

If you have a Volkswagen with a manual transmission then you may have a combination that in years to come maybe something of a collector’s item.

VW, if rumours are to be believed, are close to completely culling the manual transmission from their entire range.

The trend has been well documented, not least in this very blog. There is an undeniable, unstoppable shift from manual to automatic transmissions, the only real question is at what point does this shift end? Does it end with a balance still of manual and automatic, or do manuals eventually become obsolete,

The answer varies somewhat by country – in the UK we are still far more in love with a manual transmission than is the case with many of our European neighbours. Perhaps it has something to do with our roads; the joy – not to say necessity at times – of manually switching gears on those country lanes to maintain performance.

It is fair to say that the UK, as a whole, has perhaps a healthier degree of cynicism towards automatics than is the case elsewhere,

Ultimately, though, we make up only a small portion of the global car market, even if an important portion. We cannot completely buck global trends!

VW, according to, are looking to ditch manuals as a step on the road to an entirely EV range of vehicles. The plan, they suggest, is to ditch the clutch on combustion models, thus paving the way more smoothly towards a fully electric range – both in terms of vehicle development, but also helping drivers make a natural switch.

The motivation, for VW at least, is cost-cutting the speculation would have us believe.

The company is still reeling from the expensive diesel gate scandal and has the huge costs of delivering a fully EV future. They need to invest funds toward the future, whilst striving to stay relevant, yet also cutting costs. A tough balance.

The manual transmission is the thing that looks likely to be the victim, cut adrift as new models and updates get released.

First to make this leap could be the new Tiguan crossover, slated for 2023, while a revamped Passat could follow later the same year.

From there, this change will be applied as new models and updates get released and revamped; for instance, the next-gen of the iconic Golf.

This change will also not be limited to VW alone, with Audi, Skoda and SEAT also under the same umbrella and so likely to follow this development lead, if slightly later. The teams have development teams that are joined up, if not fully unified so there is some room for separate timetables.

Essentially, though, they will hope to force the market to come with them as so many interlinked brands offer automatic transmission only.

What will be interesting to watch will be how others react. Could this move persuade other manufacturers to hang fire on switching away from manuals, VW leaving the manual space could open up opportunities for others to increase their own market share.

More than ever, the major manufactures are engaged in a game of chess – with one eye on the current move, but also looking ahead to the future and industry-wide changes.

For now, though, we humble motorists will still have a choice of manual, automatic and also fully electric models.

Regardless of the choices we make, we all rely on a car’s transmission to stay healthy. For when things do go awry, please consider our services, we are the leading experts in gearbox repair and also provide superb refurbished replacements.


At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearboxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.