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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 JediJeb on 8/2/2012 5:55:38 PM , Rating: 2
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.

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