Originally Posted by spp
Four letters are driving most of the decisions nowadays. I'll let you figure them out.
Hint: The weight of a knob and the assembly weighs quite a bit less than the shifter and associated hardware despite the fact both are electronically controlled transmissions.
The fuel economy improvement from the weight savings going from a console shifter to a rotary knob is negligible. They only reason they are doing it is to cut cost and find whatever opportunity to charge you more money (the 8-speed is an additional $500). As an example, the Fiat Co. removed the CD player from the Jeep Grand Cherokee in an attempt to save weight / improve fuel economy. It was a money grab because they immediately went ahead and offered a remote cd player as a $195 option. They decided that wasn't enough and upped the price to $295. Look at JGC inventory and at least half the vehicles have the remote cd included as an option. I bet the weight of the optional remote cd player weighs more than if it were integrated into the base radio. My bet is that the rotary shifter will return as an added-cost option, probably aimed toward the folks who drive with bulky work gloves that don't go well with a rotary knob.