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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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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
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
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!

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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