Australia May Kill Off its Manual Golf R and GTI

The manual transmission is suffering around the world and has taken its latest blow in Australia. The market’s Volkswagen product manager has revealed that manual buyers are so much in the minority that the Golf 8 may no longer cater to them.

The news comes from carsales.com.au, which spoke to Jeff Shafer, the product manager in question. The news follows VW Australia’s decision to stop offering the Mk7.5 Golf GTI and R in manual.

That decision was understood to have more to do with Europe’s WLTP emissions standards than anything else. Asked whether or not the Mk8 Golf would reintroduce the manual transmission to VW’s performance darlings, Shafer said “I doubt it very much.”

“I think the decision won’t be based off whether we ask for a manual; it will be based on what we’re offered in Australia,” said Shafer. “I don’t expect a GTI manual variant or a Golf R manual variant.”

The move may be easy to defend in Australia since few buyers purchase manual transmission performance cars. In fact, only about 13% of Aussie buyers take an M2 or 911 in manual.

Fortunately, the manual transmission has a much stronger business case in America, where roughly 40% of buyers choose the manual GTI.