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Don't call it a comeback...

Many automotive enthusiasts have been lamenting the fact that automakers are starting to shy away from the manual transmission. Most automakers cite that take rates for manual transmissions are in steady decline. This is due to several factors, one of which being that many modern automatic transmissions now get better fuel economy than manual transmissions thanks to having more forward gears.
 
Some sports car companies are sticking with the manual transmission and are actually adding gears, such as Porsche. Porsche unveiled a seven-speed manual transmission for its sports cars not long ago.
 
While Porsche is sticking with the manual transmission, BMW has announced that it is axing the manual as an option for its M5 and Audi has discontinued manual transmissions in some of its vehicles in Europe.
 
According to Edmunds.com, the manual transmission has made a slight comeback this year. According to statistics put together by the website, 7% of all new cars sold in 2012 are equipped with manual transmissions. That is a massive decline from 20 years ago when one out of every four cars sold had a manual transmission. However, 7% is much higher than the 3.9% take rate for manual transmissions last year. 2012 is on track to be the year with the highest rate for manual transmission vehicle purchases since 2006.
 
"A combination of factors - from the growing age of vehicle trade-ins bringing more manual drivers back to market, to a greater proportion of smaller cars on the road - is creating a small spike for stick shifts," says Edmunds.com Industry Analyst Ivan Drury. "But even though manual cars are on the rise now, they're on track to be virtually extinct in the next 15 to 20 years."
 
Edmunds.com also reports that 64% of all 2012 model year vehicles are only offered with automatic transmissions. Ten years ago, the number of vehicles that weren't available with the manual transmission was must lower at 48%.
 
It's worth noting that some sports cars are only offered with manual transmissions, including the Audi TT RS, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford Shelby GT500, MazdaSpeed 3, and Volkswagen Golf R.

Source: MarketWatch



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Not much point really.
By quiksilvr on 8/2/2012 9:30:22 AM , Rating: -1
Sure its more fun and you feel more involved driving the vehicle, but 99% of us use it to drive on a straight road at 65 mph. It makes sense to only have this on performance cars and have fun driving it on a race track.

I am a bit shocked BMW is getting rid of it on the M5 though. That's a pretty high end performance car.




RE: Not much point really.
By AMDftw on 8/2/2012 9:41:21 AM , Rating: 1
I will never own a sissymatic. My clutch leg will be missing before that will ever happen.


RE: Not much point really.
By mcnabney on 8/2/2012 9:44:57 AM , Rating: 1
Why anyone would pay a penny more for an automatic (which have a far far far higher rate of repair than manuals) mystifies me to this day. Manual gearboxes deliver a far greater degree of control over the application of torque, something that is extremely useful .01% of the time. They even provide a fair bit of theft protection


RE: Not much point really.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 9:49:18 AM , Rating: 4
Do you think that a soccermom driving a 4500-pound minivan or a 5,000-pound SUV cares about "a far greater degree or control over the application of torque"?

Hell, I drive a 3,300-pound family sedan and I don't give a crap about rowing my own gears. Most of my time is spent punting from stoplight to stoplight on straight roads or shuttling down the highway at 80 MPH with cruise control on.

Now, once my kid is older and I won't need the trunk space to haul all of his crap, I wouldn't mind having a nice little sports car with a manual transmission (I'm looking at you, Scion FR-S).


RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 10:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
But why drive a 3,300-pound "boring" family sedan when you don't have to?

You could go out right now and get a Subaru WRX STi wagon (or a WRX wagon), throw your kid in the backseat, pile the trunk full of groceries (it's plenty big in the wagon) and whip them around corners at blurring speeds. Who knows, your kid might even like it and wildly yell out, "Whee!!!! Go faster, Daddy!"

I know this because I have and do just that. My two-year old daughter... loves it!

Note: None of this is to be done when the wife is in the car unless you want to deprive yourself of coital pleasure for an indeterminable length of time.

Life doesn't have to be dull and boring. Live it hard, and the emphasis is on the "living" part.


RE: Not much point really.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 11:12:12 AM , Rating: 2
Because I had a hatch previously, and a fun one at that (2006 Mazda3 Hatch). Got tired of the noisy cabin, relatively stiff ride, thrashy engine, etc.

I'm in my 30s now, I'm more laid back and want something a bit cushier. My Sonata 2.0t has more trunk space than the Mazda did under the cargo cover, and more backseat room for the rear-facing car seat without having to push the front seat all the way up.

It's also faster and gets better gas mileage and is an excellent highway cruiser for our many trips to the beach, mountains, visiting family, etc.

As for Subarus WRXs in general, I find them to be incredibly hideous with sh*tty interiors and cheapass paint jobs that chip and peel just by looking at them (just like my old Mazda). I'd rather have a GTI or a Focus ST over a WRX any day.

Sorry Reclaimer ;)


RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 11:35:24 AM , Rating: 3
I'm 37 and haven't let that stop me. :P

After having almost kicked the bucket a few years ago, I look at life differently. If you don't live it, you're wasting it.

You're right about the interiors and the chipping paint. They're known for that. Anyone buying one should know it beforehand. But, that's not what you're buying one for anyways. You buy one because they are a total blast to drive and murder the curves like they aren't even there.

I tried out a Mazda 3 before I got my WRX in '04--it was neat but not nearly as fast. It had a decent interior though and the clutch/shifting was very tight and smooth--far less clunky than my Subaru. In the end though, I wanted a more "raw" experience.

It's the same reason people buy a Lotus Elise. You might think they get them for their looks (they're pretty ugly) but deep down inside, they're a nasty car that beats you up in the seat.

That rear facing car seat won't last for long--1-2 years max. :) Trust me, I know. Mine went away fast. I've often wondered what it must have felt like for my daughter around those curves looking the other way, though.


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm 37 and haven't let that stop me. :P
43 here and daily drive a two seat, sports car. Wouldn't have it any other way (107k and counting).


RE: Not much point really.
By unplug on 8/2/2012 12:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you don't live it, you're wasting it.


Agree 100%.

I'm in a process of selling my manual Supra. Replaced it with Sportshift Vantage, wow what a blast to drive. It doesn't feel like an automatic, the way it changes gears in sportshift and the "automatic" mode, is like I'm pressing the clutch in, I get the nice jerk and all.

Never go full-automatic!


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'd rather have a GTI or a Focus ST over a WRX any day.
A Focus ST would be sweet. I just wish someone had the balls to make a RWD hatch. The ST would awesome if it was RWD (and didn't have Prius tires...looking at you Scion FR-S). I'd sell my car today if that happened.


RE: Not much point really.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/12, Rating: -1
RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 2:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
Quote him in teh OT on NASIOC. They'll tear him apart. ;)


RE: Not much point really.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 2:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone who takes it that seriously needs to get a life or get laid... or both. It's just a car, it's not like I'm insulting your/their mom ;)


RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 2:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm. We can get away with "Yo Mama" jokes on here?...


RE: Not much point really.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 3:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yo momma so ugly, she looks like Willem Dafoe with hair extensions ;)


RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 3:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah?

Yo mama is so fat that when she goes to the butcher to get a ham they tell her, "Sorry, we don't slaughter here."

:P


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 3:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yo mama is so fat that when NASA shot her into space, she wasn't weightless so she came back down.


RE: Not much point really.
By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 3:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
lol

Yo mama is so fat that when she wants some vegetables to eat, all she has to do is lift up some folds on her belly and scrape!


RE: Not much point really.
By DiscoWade on 8/2/2012 6:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yo mama so fat she has her own zip code.


RE: Not much point really.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 5:47:37 PM , Rating: 2
Shelly is NOT just a car, Brandon. I love her, I feed her, I care for her, I....well, let's just leave it at that :)

It's a Subaru thing man, you wouldn't understand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlcU1UlztBk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ7R_buZPSo&feature...


RE: Not much point really.
By One43637 on 8/2/2012 1:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
Wait 2 years and they'll release a turbo version for the FR-S. Drove a friend's and it was drool worthy, but wish it had more HP or torque...

It is a lot lower than I thought it would be from the pictures online. The seats are fantastic btw.


RE: Not much point really.
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 1:32:34 PM , Rating: 2
They're not releasing a turbo version for the U.S. Toyota fears that the added cost would price the FR-S out of the market.

The best that we'll get is an add-on TRD supercharger with a factory warranty.


RE: Not much point really.
By One43637 on 8/2/2012 1:46:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sold, don't forget the JDM bading, side markers and shark fin antenna!


RE: Not much point really.
By Dr of crap on 8/2/2012 10:24:09 AM , Rating: 3
In reply to your FAR FAR FAR greater rate of repair for automatics - I have driven three cars to over 175,000 miles ALL had no tranny problems and I have NEVER changed oil in any of those trannys either. Automatics are maintanace free.

Just for the record - I've had two cars with manuals and for sports cars- yep they NEED them.


RE: Not much point really.
By kleinma on 8/2/2012 10:41:40 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like someone didn't know how to drive stick properly ;)


RE: Not much point really.
By Dr of crap on 8/2/2012 10:57:12 AM , Rating: 2
I can drive a stick just fine thank you, why do you ask?

Cars up in the snow belt with all the salt don't last long, if your wondering why I don't have that car any longer.


RE: Not much point really.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 10:54:34 AM , Rating: 2
You shouldn't be going 175k miles without at least several transmission fluid flushes in an automatic. Even if the transmission was bullet proof, the ATF fluid sure as hell isn't. In an attempt to compare the reliability of differing transmissions, using nothing but your own myopic experience, you're admitting that you are a slacker when it comes to maintenance. Which pretty much invalidates whatever point you're trying to make.

You could also go 100k miles on the same motor oil, sure, it would probably run. But that doesn't mean that's really best for the engine.

Just because you choose to get away without doing the maintenance, doesn't mean something is "maintenance free" lol.


RE: Not much point really.
By Dr of crap on 8/2/2012 11:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
In didn't say don't do maintanance on your cars. And your slacker doesn't fit.
I just don't change tranny fluid, and MY experience tells me it works FOR ME just fine. I change the oil myself, and do MOST car repairs. Nothing better than checking under the car when changing your own oil looking for problems BEFORE they get bigger. At 10 plus years and over 150,000 miles most cars here are wreaked from road salt and won't go to much farther without big layouts of money that could towards a newer car.

The comment was that automatic trannys are far less reliable than manuals. I know a few people that have very bad experiences with big repair bills for their trannys, I have not had any. Just that same results as taking a survey. Ask a few people and compile the results.

My second manual went 130,000 before I sold it. No trouble with it either.

So you see from my car owning experiences both tranny last equally, and the autos AREN'T more trouble prone. Even PM free, from my prospective ONLY! Just the same as saying they are FAR FAR FAR more trouble prone, maybe from HIS prospective.


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:36:33 PM , Rating: 3
Thank God I'm not buying your cars used! LOL!


RE: Not much point really.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 2:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
"Show me the Carfax"

"Well cars up here don't last too long, cause of the salt, so I didn't change the oil, transmission fluid, or replace the timing belt. What's the big deal?"

lmao


RE: Not much point really.
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 4:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
I got a Carfax on my Trans Am when I bought it, according to it no repairs had ever been done. I just could never figure out why I was always finding pieces of a shattered side window all throughout the car while I owned it. Apparently not every repair is reported to Carfax.


RE: Not much point really.
By bobsmith1492 on 8/2/2012 1:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
I just had my wife's Accord auto trans fluid flushed for the first time at 175K miles. No issues with it yet. My Bronco II manual is still all original at 23 years, 130K miles.

My theory is the way you use the car drives how long it lasts. Popping or riding the clutch, mashing the gas on your auto, things like that wear out the mechanicals faster.


RE: Not much point really.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 1:55:16 PM , Rating: 2
According to the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, 90% of ALL transmission failures are caused by overheating. And how does a trans overheat? The fluid breaks down. It might not happen today, or tomorrow, but if you keep neglecting your maintenance something WILL happen that could have been prevented.

I don't understand this...pride, for lack of a better word, at rolling the dice on poor maintenance practices that some people have.


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 3:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
We change the auto tranny fluid in our truck once a year. Tranny fluid is cheap, transmissions are not.


RE: Not much point really.
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 6:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
Just watch the seals on that Bronco II transmission, especially near the shifter. I had a friend who had a ranger that started leaking there and eventually his transmission died. Same thing can happen with the M5 transmission on 90's era F150s.


RE: Not much point really.
By Iridium130m on 8/2/2012 11:15:54 AM , Rating: 4
becuase poeple want to focus on whats really REALLY important while in the car than shifting...their cell phone. Shifting just makes you focus more on driving, and who would want to do that?


RE: Not much point really.
By alpha754293 on 8/2/2012 4:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
"Manual gearboxes deliver a far greater degree of control over the application of torque"

Not true. If you know how to drive (properly), you can do the same with automatics.

Given the same car, with the same number of forward gears, and a decent TCM; you'll likely won't notice the difference between the two.

If you both are cruising at the same speed, and both downshift at the same time to pass, and then floor it, you're going to end up with the same result. And that's even with a torque-converter based automatic. (DCT/AMT/SMT will ALWAYS be able to shift faster (shorter loss of traction effort) than ANY driver, no matter HOW good you are, or how good you THINK you are.)


RE: Not much point really.
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 5:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you both are cruising at the same speed, and both downshift at the same time to pass, and then floor it, you're going to end up with the same result. And that's even with a torque-converter based automatic. (DCT/AMT/SMT will ALWAYS be able to shift faster (shorter loss of traction effort) than ANY driver, no matter HOW good you are, or how good you THINK you are.)


But how about using a higher gear on icy roads to put less torque to the wheels? I don't know of any automatic transmissions that allow you to override to a higher gear.

This is why most tractor trailers still have manual gearboxes because it is often better for the driver to make the decisions on what ratio to use for the situation instead of letting an automatic transmission dictate how you drive. Automatic transmissions work OK in tractor trailers as long as you always drive the same mostly flat roads while hauling the same type and weight of load on every trip. Unless you know how to reprogram the control system for every load it is best to not use them in other situations.

For cars and light trucks the same can be true, and often the self learning control systems do a pretty good job of adapting to a drivers regular driving habits. With a well experienced and focused driver though it would be better to allow the driver to control the vehicle in abnormal situations than letting the control system try to deal with the unknown variables.


RE: Not much point really.
By euler007 on 8/2/2012 9:47:49 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't know 99% of the population lived outside of cities. Interesting.


RE: Not much point really.
By quiksilvr on 8/2/2012 10:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
Why do you need a manual in cities? To go 25-35 mph on one way streets, stopping at red lights every block and driving in a straight line?

Manuals no longer give the fuel efficiency benefits. It may give better acceleration and performance benefits, but automatic is closing the gap in this area as well.


RE: Not much point really.
By dbeers on 8/2/2012 10:26:47 AM , Rating: 1
Not true - manual transmissions will always get better economy given you are always getting higher efficiency of power transfer over an automatic since you're directly driving gears as opposed to a hydraulic pump and torque converter setup which only achieve similar efficiency when they lock up mostly above 45MPH or in OD.

Unfortunately too many people are lazy or just don't know how to drive a stick, and dealers often won't order manual transmission cars on their lots (due to reason #1). I wanted a manual last year when I bought my Escape, but couldn't find any locally in stock when I needed to buy, and didn't have the time to wait to special order like I did for my previous truck. Also, many makes & models are not available above a certain trim level or engine combos with a stick, often relegating it to the basic economy models/levels.

I'd much rather shift my own gears, not to mention pay less up front for the cost and eventual hefty repair bills on the automatics. On my Ranger it was $1000 more for the auto over a stick.


RE: Not much point really.
By mellomonk on 8/2/2012 11:34:50 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but you are a little out of touch with modern automatics. The ability of the electronics to act in tandem with the engine management and timing as well as react to the dynamics of any given moment is making them very efficient overall, for the average driver. The coup de grace is 6, 7, 8, and even 9 speed automatics as well as the ever improving CVTs. The range of drive ratios available in an 8 speed 'slushbox' makes up for more and more of the losses when the torque converter is not locked up. They react faster and more intelligently then the average driver. The future of efficiency is in intelligent 6+ speed autos, CVTs, and 6+ speed DCTs.

I am a firm believer in manual trans and have never actually owned an automatic. My daily driver is a Wolfsburg Jetta with 6 speed manual. But as an enthusiast it is clear which way the world is going. Many high end performance autos can only be purchased with DCTs, and manuals are pretty much a non-entity in anything that pulls a load. Now as to the complexity and durability of these intelligent trans......much remains to be seen.


RE: Not much point really.
By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 1:41:48 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I am spoiled with my current truck, 96 F150 with the 4.9L inline 6 in that I don't even need all 5 gears on a regular basis. If I am not hauling something heavy I normally just shift through 1,3,5 skipping 2 and 4. But when I can enter 5th at less than 35mph and still accelerate(though a little slowly if I do) why waste the time using them all.

I really miss my old 71 F100, I could drive that thing even in town using only 3rd gear( had 3 on the tree), just slip the clutch a little on takeoff and you were good to go in high gear. Most new vehicles have nice high horsepower ratings but terrible low end torque like those older ones. Heck that 71 you could dump the clutch at idle in 1st gear and it would bark the tires and take off without killing it, great vehicle for someone learning to drive :) couldn't kill it on takeoff, and geared so low it wouldn't hit 100mph even when you had the engine screaming and throwing oil out the breather at full throttle lol.


RE: Not much point really.
By dbeers on 8/2/2012 1:59:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sorry, but you are a little out of touch with modern automatics. The ability of the electronics to act in tandem with the engine management and timing as well as react to the dynamics of any given moment is making them very efficient overall, for the average driver. The coup de grace is 6, 7, 8, and even 9 speed automatics as well as the ever improving CVTs. The range of drive ratios available in an 8 speed 'slushbox' makes up for more and more of the losses when the torque converter is not locked up. They react faster and more intelligently then the average driver. The future of efficiency is in intelligent 6+ speed autos, CVTs, and 6+ speed DCTs.


I'm very familiar with modern automatics. Most of these 6,7,8+ "speed" transmissions don't actually have that many gears, they are just applying OD or lockup at the top of lower gears to essentially get another gear ratio. Granted they are better and slightly more efficient than automatics of old, but they will never be more efficient and get better mileage than a good manual, not to mention cost less to produce or maintain. That was the point I was trying to make.


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 3:41:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Granted they are better and slightly more efficient than automatics of old, but they will never be more efficient and get better mileage than a good manual, not to mention cost less to produce or maintain.
But some of the auto's either match or DO get better fuel economy than manual trannies. And if there's a real DCT installed, they typically get better than manual trans fuel economy. That's the point WE are trying to make. LOL! Your knowledge of newer autos/DCTs is lacking. For someone that can figure out how to log into DT, you sure don't know d!ck about web searches. This is all public info. Even a caveman could find this stuff.


RE: Not much point really.
By Griffinhart on 8/3/2012 10:14:31 AM , Rating: 2
I have been driving stick for 25 years, and I have admittedly just purchased the dreaded automatic. This time I wanted a tech car and got the Ford Focus Titanium which only comes with automatic. Though they claim it's an automated manual and not the same traditional auto transmission. I'm not hip on the differences between a dual clutch transmission vs a conventional automatic.

Both types of transmissions have their place. Some of the old thoughts no longer apply though. 20 years ago manuals always had better gas mileage. That's no longer the case. Automatics aren't more costly to maintain these days. I've had costly trasmission repairs. The last one was having to replace the master cylinder on my 2001 explorer. I don't have a single friend that's had to put any repairs into their automatic transmissions over the past 20 years.

I personally find Manuals give me better performance and fun driving, but let me tell you, there is nothing fun about a Boston Commute driving a stick.

If it's a manual in a truck you lose utility with stick. Towing capacity of manual transmissions are typically 1500lbs+ lower than automatics.

There is a "security" advantage to stick. So few know how to drive them it is a deterant. Heck, a few months ago in Lynn Mass there was a bank robbery and the suspects tried to hi-jack a womans car (with a baby in the back seat) and they got in the car, and right back out because they didn't know how to drive stick!

Fewer friends want to borrow you car as well! :)

Honestly though, I find the biggest reason for fewer manual sales are because of how manufacturers sell options. I have often seen cases where if you wan't a GPS you have to also get a trim level that includes an automatic transmission. There are many times you only have limited trim choices if you want a stick.


RE: Not much point really.
By Zuul on 8/2/2012 10:54:39 AM , Rating: 1
Definitely agree - nothing will replace the feel and enjoyment of rowing thru gears!

However lately, i've become a believer in DCT's for performance cars. If it's about driving enjoyment, I'd stick with a manual. If it's about fastest times, a DCT is the only way to go. It's physically impossible for a human to shift a manual car faster than a DCT.


RE: Not much point really.
By dubldwn on 8/2/2012 1:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If it's about driving enjoyment, I'd stick with a manual. If it's about fastest times, a DCT is the only way to go.

This. The dct might give you slightly better times (the regular 5 speed auto is actually faster than my manual Challenger) but there's no way I'd ever give up the third pedal. You either get it or you don't. When I drive a dct I use it for a few minutes then just put it in drive. Just can't get into paddles.


RE: Not much point really.
By Spuke on 8/2/2012 3:45:00 PM , Rating: 2
DCT's aren't slightly faster. They're WAY faster especially in the hands of a non-professional driver (ie ALL of us). Both cars being equal, a DCT equipped car will always be quicker. I love my manual trans car and my next car might be a manual as well as the car after that but DCT's are the sh!t and there's no denying their performance advantage.


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