Manual Transmission Vehicles Make Slight Comeback in 2012
August 2, 2012 9:19 AM
comment(s) - last by
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.
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RE: Subaru All The Way
8/2/2012 6:03:47 PM
I thought Honda used a timing chain. I could be wrong. Or maybe Honda uses both depending on the model. My 2004 Nissan 350z (6-speed manual by the way) uses a timing chain. I believe Nissan uses a timing chain on most of their cars. Timing chains last much much longer than timing belts.
RE: Subaru All The Way
8/2/2012 7:09:17 PM
As someone who has owned and continues to own Nissan vehicles (currently a 2004 Frontier and 2010 Infinity G37), the chains aren't the problem. The sprocket teeth will eventually wear down and those will need replacing. After dealing with that in my old '98 Altima with a lot of help from a mechanic buddy, I'd much rather replace a simple belt.
RE: Subaru All The Way
8/6/2012 1:01:11 PM
You're correct, timing belts were just that...actual rubber belts that were plentiful back in the day. Now (as of early 2000's), auto manufacturers have replaced the rubber belt with a metal chain because they last longer. Having owned my share of late 90's Civics and Accords, timing belts last around 85-90k miles while timing chains are supposed to last 110k-125k miles depending on the brand and model.
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