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Mazda defends the manual gearbox

By Cameron Kirby, 22 Feb 2019 News

Mazda defends the manual gearbox

Fans of the DIY transmission will be welcomed with open arms at Mazda Australia

MAZDA will continue to offer cars with a manual gearbox, even as other brands ditch the three-pedal combo.

While other companies continue to wage war on the clutch pedal, Mazda Australia has made a commitment to offer a manual wherever possible.

This is exemplified by the new Mazda 3 range, which offers both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions across the entire range.

Read next: 2019 Mazda 3 pricing and specification revealed

Managing Director of Mazda Australia, Vinesh Bhindi, says the manual gearbox is a natural fit with the company’s ethos of delivering choice to buyers.

“Some of our customers still want [manuals],” he said speaking at the local reveal of the Mazda 3 in Melbourne.

“Yes, it’s a small percentage [who buy manual]. But our strategy is to offer options to the customer.

“For our business strategy, with manual being available from the factory, it makes sense to offer the manual.”

It’s estimated 10 percent of Mazda 3’s sold in the first 12 months will be fitted with a manual gearbox.

Read next: 2019 Mazda 3 vs Hyundai i30: How do they stack up?

Mazda Australia Marketing Director Alastair Doak said that while some customers wanting a manual may shift from another brand to get their three-pedal fix, it wasn’t the sole motivation for offering both transmissions.

“We were having the discussion about do we or don’t we keep the manual, and we thought ‘there are hundreds of customers per year that have consistently bought manuals, and there is no real desire to walk away from those people’,” he told Wheels.

“Into the future, we are trying to expand the choice that we offer customers, because why not? If it means we keep some, or attract more, or make people happy with their Mazda, then great. That was the real motivator.”