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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, 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 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." 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 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
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 :)

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