At the recent Paris motor show Ford surprised everyone by announcing that it intends to remove third gear from all of its manual models sold in Europe.
"It has become increasingly irrelevant," said a spokesman. "Hardly anyone uses it; they just shift straight from second to fourth. And with newer models now coming with as many as six, seven or even eight gears, we find that we're desperately short of space on the gear knob."
Ford also says that it is considering removing indicators for much the same reason.