The question was recently brought to the attention by the Flemish Drivers' Union (VAB), which is the largest driving school in Belgium. According to VAB, driving licences for vehicles with automatic gearboxes should become the norm, instead of driving licences for vehicles with manual gearboxes, as is now the case.
While this proposal has not aroused much enthusiasm among other organisations in the sector, it is based on an increasingly observable reality in the Belgian car market.
In 2015, 'only' 23.5% of new cars registered in Belgium were equipped with an automatic gearbox. By the end of 2020, this figure had risen to 49.4%, and by the end of 2021 it would be the majority, with 56.5% of new cars registered in Belgium that year being equipped with an automatic gearbox.
And this trend is not about to be reversed: with the growing popularity of hybrid and electric cars, which are de facto equipped with an automatic gearbox (or no gearbox at all, as is the case with some electric models), automatic gearboxes will continue to gain market share over the years.
According to FEBIAC, if the political orientations in this area remain unchanged, electric cars will represent 65% of the new car market in Belgium in 2030. This figure will even rise to 96.5% in 2035. This means that manual gearboxes will almost completely disappear from Belgian showrooms.