The story has been told near, far and wide: the manual transmission is losing ground across the industry, based on a mediocre sales record in recent years. While it's true demand has cratered, automakers are doing nothing to boost its popularity, as they often only offer it with basic versions stripped of the equipment consumers are looking for.
We could discuss this strategy at length, in fact we have, on more than one occasion. We’ll leave it lie this time.
However, there’s no denying the popularity of this type of transmission among those who like and engaged driving experience, whether in a sports car or an SUV - especially the kind designed to go off-road.
Like the Ford Bronco, for example.
We already know that a 7-speed manual transmission (with a gearbox designed for slow off-road driving) will be offered with the reborn SUV. But when you look at the vehicle's spec sheet, it shows that it will only be available with the small 2.3L, 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine. What’s more, it can't be paired with all versions of the model equipped with this powertrain (four out of six can’t be fitted with it, in fact). This means limited distribution of the manual transmission.
Now, Ford has already declared itself open to comments from enthusiasts. And these committed folks appear to want to compel the automaker to rethink its decision, because a petition has appeared on the Change.org website to ask the company to add a manual box as a possibility on more versions of the Bronco. At the time of writing, 4,321 people had added their signature to this request.
Did we mention the level of interest, even passion the new Ford Bronco has aroused?
The petition was launched three weeks ago and it should have no trouble reaching 5,000 signatures. The question then is whether Ford will take the request into account, but hopefully the company will listen.
Currently, Ford has received over 150,000 reservations for its new Bronco. The company will accept firm orders in December for the first deliveries next spring.
In Canada, we know that several versions of the new Ford Bronco will be made available to us so that we can test them and talk to you at length about them.