Eh. GM IS capable of making a decent manual box. The M32 in the Cruze is not one of them, and that kept me from buying another. It's rather poor match with the Gen 2 and 1.4T engine...among the numbest things I've ever driven, laggy powerband due to the tuning, and clunky. Even auto journalists said to just avoid the manual, which is quite rare.
As the market has shifted, I imagine that GM is losing sales on the new Cruze to the new Equinox and other crossover vehicles. I don't even think the Malibu, despite being pretty good, is selling that well. Cutting a transmission put into 1% of Cruzes sold - mostly to enthusiasts - probably makes financial sense. When I bought my 2012, it sat on the lot for ~8 months before I bought it (at a time when Cruzes were flying off lots), and it took them nearly as long to sell used.
It's just a sign of how lazy people are these days. I keep my Cruze for at least 11 yrs, so that my son can learn on a manual, lol. Once he practices on a destroyed Cruze, he can drive the old 76/78/79 Dodge mud truck I inherited from my buddy. Of course, it's really hard to stall a 400 big block, maybe that's the better practice vehicle?
Lets hope not! It was one of the things that made the VW Diesels attractive before they screwed up their program. I have one on order (with a diesel). Even if the drop it in the 1.4L, I hope it lives on in the diesel!