Ford said this morning that it would invest $3.7 billion in U.S. plants to build the seventh-generation Mustang and the next Ranger pickup. Part of that announcement consisted of a simple graphic image with the words “7th Generation. The all-new Ford Mustang” with the horse logo. Not so subtly hidden in the image was a 6-speed manual shift gate pattern in the “O”.
The option of a stick shift wasn’t in serious doubt, but it wasn’t a forgone conclusion, either. Sports car after sports car have jettisoned what was once called the “standard” transmission. See the Corvette C8, BMW M5, Audi TT, Toyota Supra (though that will soon be rectified), and everything from Ferrari. These days, manuals are so rare that carmakers make big pronouncements about their mere existence. See the Nissan Z, Acura Integra, and now the next Mustang.
Previous rumors have had the next Mustang, debuting in 2023 for the 2024 model year (also its 60th anniversary), powered by possible hybrid drivetrains. These have pointed to hybridized versions of both the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a Coyote V8. An electrified Mustang would be powered by a 10-speed automatic transmission.
In April, Ford’s vehicle director for icons and Ford Performance, Ali Jammoul got real in an interview with Australia’s Wheels. “You know, eventually it’s going be phased out, right?” Jammoul added, “As long as there’s a market for it and customers still want that higher performing feel, it’ll stay, but clearly you can deliver a lot more [from an automatic], especially from EVs.” He added, “It’s clear there will be more electrification, and manual gearboxes will not be around in the future.”
So, even if the manual gearbox lives to shift another Mustang generation, it might very will be the last.