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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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By Beenthere on 8/2/2012 9:39:44 AM , Rating: -1
Probably 90% of U.S. drivers aren't even qualified to have a driver's license let alone be capable of properly driving a manual transmission vehicle. As far as manual trans being "more fun or engaging" I'd say that is open to opinion and is purely subjective.

DCTs are the smart choice as they deliver better performance and mpg while being as entertaining as a manual but they also cost more initially so it depends on what consumers desire.

IMO BMW will receive a lot of backlash in Urrup for dropping the manual trans on the M5.




By Iaiken on 8/2/2012 9:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
IMO BMW will receive a lot of backlash in Urrup for dropping the manual trans on the M5.


Apparently you aren't very well acquainted with the sort of people who buy M5's; 85% of that customer base won't care. The only other manual option for performance saloon buyers is the US version of the Audi RS5; everything else is automatic. BMW is making this choice because customers don't have a choice, but there is a good chance that this move will delay Audi from ditching the manual as manual bimmer drivers jump ship.


By MrBlastman on 8/2/2012 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 4
What's the difference between a BMW and a porcupine?

A: The prick is on the inside!

quote:
Apparently you aren't very well acquainted with the sort of people who buy M5's; 85% of that customer base won't care.


They won't care. Most of them are self-obsessed with their own "image" and how possessing "stuff" makes them looks special and superior to everyone else. This doesn't apply to only BMW drivers though... the same holds true for Mercedes, Lexus and Audi drivers also. Acuras, oddly for some reason, not so much.


By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 10:10:47 AM , Rating: 2
My only question is like with my current vehicle, will a DCT be able to operate for 16 years and 250k miles without needing major repairs?

At 200k miles I did have to replace my throwout bearing but that was pretty minor, less than $500 parts and labor.


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 10:37:34 AM , Rating: 2
$500 for a throw out bearing? Ouch! You got raped bro. You should have had the clutch done while they were in there, same labor cost. Now you'll have to pay that again when you do get your clutch done.


By Kurz on 8/2/2012 11:29:40 AM , Rating: 3
I've heard of awesome Manual Operators that still have signficant amount of clutch pad material left at 200,000.


By chromal on 8/2/2012 11:45:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's not that hard. My 1998 Honda Civic CX hatchback has a 5-speed manual and 225K on the odometer. Still on the factory clutch.

Manual transmissions are more reliable and typically have 1/3rd the parts of automatics. They require far less maintenance (manual transmission fluid lasts a long long time; it's just gearbox oil.) They're usually lighter, too. Up until a few years ago, they were the hands-down economy winner all of the time. Now, it's just some of the time, depending upon the automatic transmission technology the manufacturer has chosen to offer.

I own my 4th car now, and do not ever intend to purchase an automatic transmission vehicle. Which, as it sounds, may doom me to a fate of sports cars. I can think of worse fates. :)


By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 12:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well I did have the clutch replaced at the same time, but when looking at it afterwards there was really no reason to have done it, it was barely worn. Had I had a garage I would have done it myself, but it isn't so easy in a gravel driveway, nor did I have the free time then either, no extra vehicle to drive if I had problems with it :(


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well I did have the clutch replaced at the same time, but when looking at it afterwards there was really no reason to have done it, it was barely worn.
Gotcha. It was the financially smarter move to do both while the tranny is out. I've done clutch jobs myself (although if I ever get the Solstice done it will be in a shop). First one took 5 hours because every friggin bolt seemed like it was welded on. But the rest took 3 hours. Clutches on eco cars are cheap. I never paid more than $100 for the clutch, pressure plate and TO bearing. Only did the flywheel once and that was because I wanted a lightweight one.


By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 1:07:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think the clutch and pressure plate was less than $50 combined, except for the shop having to try three times to get the right one. According to all the books it should have had a 10" clutch but somehow it had and 11" clutch which is only used on the F250 instead of the F150. The throwout bearing was replaced because it is also the slave cylinder on the hydraulic clutch which was leaking. The old 71 F100 I had back in high school actually had about 300k miles on it and the clutch was all original in it, but it was mechanical not hydraulic.

The bad thing about trying to do such a job on gravel is not being able to roll a transmission jack easily when moving it back from the engine. Well that and possibly loosing any small parts when you drop them. We did so many tractor overhauls on gravel when I was a kid, but Dad always had a big bolt box handy with every size imaginable just for spares for when we lost one.


By Souka on 8/2/2012 2:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
Get a 4x6ft (or simiar sized) plywood sheet and work on that.

Did just fine on a Silverado transmission I helped a friend with.

We were on gravel also and an incline... we used some 1x1, 2x1, and gravel to make the work surface a bit more level.

:)


By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 6:06:55 PM , Rating: 2
Good idea. Now if I can just find a creeper on treads I will be set :)


By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 10:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
As far as manual trans being "more fun or engaging" I'd say that is open to opinion and is purely subjective.


No that's pretty much a fact. The only people who would differ are those who don't CARE about a fun or engaging driving experience. The "point A to point B" crowd. And they don't count.

quote:
DCTs are the smart choice


Now THAT is a purely subjective opinion.

quote:
Probably 90% of U.S. drivers aren't even qualified to have a driver's license let alone be capable of properly driving a manual transmission vehicle.


Inflammatory and subjective. Come on, 90%? Don't be a troll.

Other makers can do what they want, but I'll say this: If Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Subaru ever takes the true manual out of the Impreza line, life just won't be worth living.


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 10:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
You need to drive a DCT Rec77, they're awesome. Seriously. Not one of the half ass DCT's either like Ford's Powershift (that's really an auto with clutches replacing the torque converter), I'm talking a real one like BMW or Porsche uses. Roll down to your nearest BMW dealer and take a 135i with DCT out for a spin. Shifts are almost imperceptible (except for that pop between shifts!) and acceleration is relentless. I have no mufflers on my Solstice and I get pops on shifts and burbles when I let off the gas (manual trans), fun as hell. The 135i with DCT does the same. It's exhaust is MUCH louder than I expected. Maybe it's because I was driving a convertible that I could hear all that but my buddies 335i is super quiet. The 135i was WAY more fun than I expected. So much so that I'm considering one as a replacement for my Solstice in a couple of years BUT the Boss 302 is tugging at me too.


By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 11:01:27 AM , Rating: 2
Well I don't know (without Google) if this was a "real" DCT, but my racing buddy let me do a few runs in his Mitsu Evo X and it had the paddles. Yeah it was pretty fun, and way different. Maybe TOO different, my times sucked lol

I'm not discounting the technology, after all Ferrari uses them and you know how high of a regard I hold for them. I would just prefer it as an option, not a replacement of manuals.

That Beemer sounds fun man!


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
Evo has a real DCT. Drove one of those too once. Fun car! Awesome brakes. Not as fast as I expected. Probably better on track. Let me clarify, a real DCT is a manual tranny with two clutches and electronic control. Some automakers like Ford and Mercedes claim they have DCT's when they're really auto's with a clutch that replaces the torque converter.


By JediJeb on 8/2/2012 12:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
Is there a good DCT in something in the $20k range of vehicles?


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/2/2012 12:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hyundai has a 6-speed DCT in the Veloster. But then again, that thing has sub 140hp though.

The GTI has a decent one, and is priced around $25,000 I think.


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 12:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
Car and Driver said the DCT in the Veloster shifted pretty slow. At least theirs is a real DCT but they removed all of the benefits of having one in the first place.


By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 2:38:51 PM , Rating: 2
Pfft GTI, unreliable poor quality front wheel drive German crapbox.


By Spuke on 8/2/2012 3:48:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Pfft GTI, unreliable poor quality front wheel drive German crapbox.
I want to love VW so bad but they just plain suck.


By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2012 5:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
They really do. VW was basically on it's way out in America until they rode the New Beetle out of the pit.

http://www.cars-that-suck.com/

lmao


By Strunf on 8/3/2012 7:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
I have a 12 years old VW no problem whatsoever with it but there's a myth saying that VW keeps the best in Europe and sends the crap to the US...

The website you pointed is a piece of garbage probably written by whining fool.


By 225commander on 8/3/2012 1:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
BOTH my cars are manual, apparently VW thinks that if you would like a manual trans with V6 AND Leather/Sunroof then you must be crazy, b/c I had to search for 3 months to find 1! and had to travel over 900 miles to bring it home too.

I drive a '01 Vdub Passat, made in germany, I have 185k on it, all original clutch, the Throw Out bearing is *just* starting to make a little huming noise to let you know it's time for a swap, plenty of grab left on the clutch pads though.

Also, left out of the 'manual option only' list would be my other ride, Honda S2000, 1 engine option, 1 tranny option, 10 year production run, very much the slightly refined but still 'raw' sports car manual trans feel. I suppose the list only included 'current' vehicles,
R.I.P S2k '00 - '10


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