Currently reading: Mercedes to 'eliminate' manual gearboxes and cull ICE powertrains
German marque is keen to simplify its range and cut costs, and fan favourites have entered the crosshairs

Mercedes-Benz will phase out manual transmissions and “dramatically” reduce the number of internal combustion engines in its line-up as part of a major overhaul to simplify its range and lower production costs.

The German manufacturer has made the dramatic moves as part of a major new strategy designed to achieve “profitable growth” in the luxury segment. The revamp includes a focus on electric powertrains, developing in-car software systems and a major cost-reduction plan to boost profitability - which will lead to the elimination of manual gearboxes in its line-up.

“We need to reduce complexity,” said Mercedes-Benz research and development boss Markus Schäfer. “Complexity adds costs. We're going to reduce future products, reduce platforms substantially, combustion engines will be very dramatically reduced and we will eliminate the manual transmission.

“We're going to a more modular strategy, and we will reduce the number of options significantly."

No timeline has yet been given for Mercedes' elimination of manual gearboxes, although it will likely be achieved by phasing out cars with the option as automatic-only replacements are launched. The firm has also given no details of how many combustion engines it plans to cull.

The overall goal of the new cost-reduction strategy is to reduce fixed cost by more than 20% compared with 2019 by 2025. The firm has also targeted cutting capital expenditure and research and development spending by more than 20% over the same period.

The share of cars sold with manual gearboxes has shrunk dramatically in recent years, likely making it hard for Mercedes to justify continued investment in their development, especially as the firm increasingly focuses on direct-drive battery electric vehicles, which don't require gearboxes in the traditional sense. 


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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Peter Cavellini 6 October 2020


 Isn't this just Brexit protection?,Jaguar at it too.

Boris9119 6 October 2020

Help Me Out

Not sure what your suggesting Peter, can you expand upon your posting?

artill 6 October 2020

I much prefer a manual

I much prefer a manual gearbox, but in truth Mercedes have not made a car i would want, with a manual box for a very long time, so i dont think them stopping offering them will make any difference. But there are plenty of other car makers where i really would miss it. As for gears, there are quite a few 7 speed manuals out there (and one in my garage)

xxxx 6 October 2020

Not better in every

Autos are more expensive, heavier, need maintenance, less reliable and more expensive to repair. oh and saying manuals are limited to 6 speeds is just plain dumb.