A floor mounted parking brake can also be used to park a manual transmission vehicle. A parking brake is on the floor to be used by the left foot, a handbrake is on the center console, and an emergency brake can refer to either, although usually it refers to a handbrake.
I do not see how a handbrake wastes space, what else would be put there? No center console whatsoever, like base model K-cars?
A handbrake, emergency brake, or parking brake only locks the rear drums. During hard braking, most of the work is being done by your front disc brakes. If you brake TOO hard or too long, your front discs can become superheated and do not function. In this instance, you should downshift your car and use your handbrake to slow your vehicle. This is not possible with a floor, or ‘parking’ brake. This use is also the reason that the handbrake is also called the ‘emergency’ brake. Be careful, however, if you are using your handbrake, do not make sudden steering corrections or slow too quickly, both can lead to a sudden swapping of ends due to inertia.
Floor mounted shifters are more reliable, and are preferred by the majority of drivers. In a rear wheel drive vehicle, often the floor mounted shifter is physically attached to the transmission, making a column shifter unecessarily complex.
Car manufacturers attempt to save money in every way possible. Manufacturing a vehicle that offers a column OR floor shift would cost more than the return, and therefore make it an illogical production decision.
Console shifters are also considered by some to be unreliable or flaky. Many people also like to rest their hand on the shift knob or handbrake while driving.
I, personally, would not drive a vehicle that has a console shifter, and would not drive a vehicle that has a ‘parking’ brake. Both of these come mainly on large trucks and minivans. The majority of small, compact, midsize, luxury, and sports cars have handbrakes and console shifters.
Does this answer your questions?