Originally Posted by Efthreeoh
I disagree. Manual transmissions have been the prominent trans of choice for the US market for 40 years and that never stopped BMW from offering manual transmissions in every model (most of them as the standard transmission i.e. not an option). The 7-series used to be available with a manual transmission. The first gen X3 was available with a manual transmission. The F30 standard transmission is an automatic; you have to spec the manual. At least Cadillac gives a $1K+ discount if you spec a manual trans.
The issue is crash testing. The USDOT requires every drivetrain variation of a particular model be crash tested, so that what limits the availability. The auto manufacturers should get the crash test regulations changed so they can offer more diverse products to their customers.
The issue isn't with crash testing. The problem has to do with a lack of sales. Your referencing of crash testing and regulations wouldn't be a problem for manufacturers selling mass-produced cars in large volume; that problem would affect much smaller brands or models that have an extremely low production unit run.
The "problem" is that automated transmissions have become vastly superior to their clutch operated alternatives in most critical areas. Fuel efficiency is superior thanks to the addition of more gears (allowing a compromise of tight packed ratios with a sixth, seventh or eighth gear for economy), faster shift speeds, smarter computers, and various other improvements, like torque converters being fully locked in 95% of driving situations.
The only reason manufacturers will offer a manual is if they believe it's beneficial from a sales perspective, either directly or indirectly; directly meaning a particular model is perhaps a [sports car, GT, muscle car, etc] and would attract a decent portion of manual-buying consumers, or indirectly meaning that the brand has an established image/tradition of offering manual transmissions (BMW and Porsche are prime examples), and keeping manuals on offer reinforces this image.
I'm all for manuals and more choice benefits us, the consumers. The fact of the matter is that we're an increasingly fractional minority in the buying world and sales is the end all be all. I'm sure that as much as some of these companies would love to offer manuals, they're in business for profit and sustainability, and the costs of additional R&D/engineering to fit two different types of transmissions in just doesn't make financial sense.