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Ford Manual Transmissions Declining in Popularity in Europe

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 Ford manual transmissions Europe
Ford notes a decline in the popularity of manual transmissions in Europe
Photo: Ford

Though the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco is now one of the few vehicles on the road with a standard seven-speed stick shift, the popularity of the stick shift is on the decline in America as automatics are increasingly the norm. The story is similar in Europe, but it may come as a surprise how many Ford vehicles are sold with manual transmissions.

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According to Ford, the number of passenger and commercial vehicles sold with an automatic transmission has more than tripled since 2017. This isn’t shocking, perhaps, but it might come as something of a surprise that manual transmissions are still overwhelmingly the preference. In 2019, 77.2 percent of all Ford vehicles sold in Europe had a manual transmission.

Hot sellers like the Focus and Transit are leading the charge. Ford says that 30.9 percent of all Focus vehicles sold in January 2020 were equipped with an automatic. Last year, only 7 percent of Ford Focus sales came from automatics. In the first month of the year, 19 percent of Ford Transit sales came from automatics — 95.3 percent of all Transits sold in 2017, on the other hand, had a manual transmission.

Ford manual transmission popularity

  • Ford manual transmissions Europe
  • Ford manual transmissions Europe
  • Ford manual transmissions Europe

While one month out of the year may not be the best basis for comparison, Ford says that the uptick in popularity for vehicles with automatic transmissions bodes well for electrified vehicles and, eventually, self-driving cars.

“Among the many benefits of automatic transmissions are that they enable drivers to enjoy the very latest driver-assist technology, making everything, from parking to stop-start traffic, easier and more comfortable,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “We expect to see this trend continue as in the future more and more people move into electric vehicles — establishing automatic transmissions as the norm.”

Ford’s all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E launches later this year. It joins an electrified lineup in Europe that includes the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid and all-new Puma mild hybrid.

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