... I'd be willing to bet some serious money that in a few years manual tranny's will be truly outdated. ..
I think one can argue that the manual tranny has been obsolete for the US car market for a long time. Manual tranny cars are few and far between for cars that are the opposite in Europe. I grew up in Holland in a car culture where auto trannies are considered OK for disabled people, amputees, very old people, or for truly very clumsy people that cannot pass their driving test after 20 or so attempts. This is totally ingrained in the car culture. My mother in law came to visit the other week and she unexpectedly turned out to be a jaguar fan, so she took up the chance to ride along in my XJR. "An automatic???" she questioned in surprise as I put the shifter in "D". And this is a 67 year old lady (who drives a manual tranny Ford Ka BTW). I don't see that change in the next 40 or so years. Some high performance cars may be sold in auto or flappy paddle mode, but the bulk of cars in Europe will continue to be sold as a manual. After all, the manual transmission is the best, most economical and most durable solution to the problem of transferring the power generated by the engine to the wheels. And people in Europe like that sort of thing ;-)