Andy Palmer, the man who lifted Aston Martin from its knees and saved it from being eaten up by the constantly growing and evolving car industry, has promised that the British company will always have a manual car in its range.
He stated the following on Twitter in response to a tweet made by MotorTrend regarding manual transmissions:
A reminder that @astonmartin recently announced the Vantage AMR with a 7 speed, dog-leg 1st, manual transmission. We are committed to always having a manual in our range.
— Dr. Andy Palmer (@AndyatAston) July 17, 2019
“A reminder that
@astonmartin recently announced the Vantage AMR with a 7 speed, dog-leg 1st, manual transmission. We are committed to always having a manual in our range,” he says.
Despite the incredible response to this tweet, Aston Martin didn’t offer a manual car for almost a decade with their DB11 and Vantage only available with an 8-speed automatic. But, as of May ’19 they began offering a Vantage AMR with a dog-leg first gear. Only 200 of these were made, but this racing-inspired gearbox will become an option during 2020.
Aston had to jump through quite a few hoops for this to come to fruition. The main being, there was no manual gearbox for their Mercedes-sourced V8. Building a manual ‘box that works with this engine must have been an expensive task, but only accentuates Aston’s love and commitment to making a manual available to all of its customers, despite the majority choosing the auto.
Automatic sales are still increasing worldwide, although some companies such as Honda are finding high manual sales. Autoblog reported earlier this year that Honda found sales of manual cars had risen by over 30% from 2017 to 2018. Still, manual sales consist of just 2.8% of their total sales.
Autoblog also found that MX5 sales were 76% manual, however Toyota GT86 sales were overwhelmingly automatic with 76% of owners wanting an auto. Madness.
So is there a market for the manual car, especially one with such performance as the Aston Martin Vantage? I’d like to agree with Mr Palmer that there is, but I am of course biased. What does need to be said, though, is if you want to support the manual market, but manuals. Too many times have we seen people discuss their love for manuals online, but in fact drive an auto.
Don’t be that guy, drive a manual. Please?