Another clutch bites the dust
Mercedes-Benz will drop manual transmissions and "dramatically" reduce its number of combustion engine variants, to increase investment in electric powertrains and reduce complexity of R&D and production.
The goal? Reduce spending 20% percent by 2025!
During the company's capital markets presentation today, Markus Shaefer, Mercedes COO and R&D boss, said, "We are going to reduce platforms and number of combustion engines very dramatically; we will drop our transmission count and eliminate manual gearboxes."
M-B said it would reduce the number of variants offered with combustion engines 40% by 2025 and 70% by 2030, both compared with today's level.
Mercedes currently only offers manual transmissions in the compact A-Class AND the midsize C-Class model families.
Production of M-B manual transmissions has fallen under .3 million from .5 million in 2016, while dual-clutch transmissions rose to .68 million from .46 million, and automatics rose to 1.56 million from 1.41 million.
Mercedes has played a big role in the history of combustion engines, including the launch of the first diesel in a passenger car in 1936. However, electrification and the cost of upgrading combustion engines to comply with tougher emissions regulations have forced all automakers to reduce combustion engine and transmission programs.
Along with the drop in transmission, there go clutches, clutch pedals, cables, hydraulic actuators, shift levers, boots, console openings, etc. While it might seem minor, it's a real and permanent loss of business for dozens of companies (hundreds of employees) that specialize in those products, and loss of a real driving skill honed over many thousands (millions?) of shifts...