Someone needs to send Porsche executives free "Save the Manuals" t-shirts, because they seem to be aligned with the cause. During a recent roundtable interview attended by The Drive, Porsche 911 and 718 boss Frank Moser said that not only will the brand continue to sell vehicles with manuals, but that it hopes to do so until at least the end of this generation of Porsche sports cars. That's key, because ever-tightening emissions regulations have threatened to kill off the third pedal in some models even more quickly than anticipated.
"Manual transmission is always what the customer wants in the 911, so we have been and are working as long as possible to save the manuals," Moser said. "That’s absolutely relevant for the 911. That’s why we have the 911 T with a manual gearshift, and now the 911 S/T with a stick shift, and that’s really because customers want a stick shift."
When asked if Porsche is confident it can keep manuals alive through this generation of cars, Moser said "We're working on it." So it would seem that as long as the current 718 Boxster/Cayman and 911 exist, it's likely their manuals will, also.
Of course, Porsche isn't the only automaker that still sells manuals. Most sports car manufacturers today offer one or two, like the Honda Civic Si and Type R, the Ford Mustang, BMW M2, Toyota GR Corolla and GR86, and the list goes on. Still, there's no denying that the market's manual numbers are dwindling, which is why it's encouraging that Porsche has continued to release new versions of the 718 and 911 that celebrate the rowing of gears, such as the Boxster Spyder and the aforementioned 911 T.
However, don't expect manuals to stick around once electrification becomes the norm. Toyota might be researching synthetic stick shifts for electric cars that even stall, but Porsche wants no part of that, as it'd be inauthentic. "What we want, and that’s the key for Porsche, is to make it authentic. So therefore, I don’t know that there’s a way for us to have a stick shift in an electrified car," Moser told the roundtable.
Manual transmissions are living on borrowed time, of course. But some brands have fought the good fight longer than others, and it would seem that Porsche is one of them. Stuttgart clearly doesn't intend to let its stick shifts die swiftly, even in the face of a changing industry.
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