Sports car enthusiasts don't miss an occasion to use the #savethemanual hashtag, but the truth of the matter is, most people buying performance vehicles tend to go with the automatic. The take rate for a three-pedal setup has gradually dropped in recent years, making it difficult for automakers to build a solid business case for the do-it-yourself gearbox.
There are some exceptions such as Porsche, which recently said 70 percent of previous-gen 911 GT3 customers in the United States opted for the clutch pedal. Aston Martin has also made efforts to retain the manual transmission in various models, but its days are numbered based on a recent statement made by the company's boss.
Speaking to Australian magazine CarSales during a roundtable interview with other journalists, Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers revealed the V8 Vantage AMR will lose the manual with next year's facelift. Not only that, but the Vanquish will no longer get the third pedal despite an initial announcement about the mid-engine supercar promising it would have a stick shift.
Going back in time, former boss Andy Palmer said a little over five years ago that Aston Martin would be the "last manufacturer in the world to offer a manual sports car." That's not going to be the case anymore and it seems more and more likely that Porsche with its 911 will be the last bastion of the clutch pedal in the sports car realm.
Why is Aston Martin backtracking on its decision to keep the manual alive? Tobias Moers says it's because people "have to realise sports cars have changed quite a bit." With automakers adding more power while throwing electrification into the mix, it's understandable why a manual is becoming less and less feasible. That's especially true since demand has plummeted, at least among high-end sports cars.