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: Not much point really.
8/3/2012 10:14:31 AM
I have been driving stick for 25 years, and I have admittedly just purchased the dreaded automatic. This time I wanted a tech car and got the Ford Focus Titanium which only comes with automatic. Though they claim it's an automated manual and not the same traditional auto transmission. I'm not hip on the differences between a dual clutch transmission vs a conventional automatic.
Both types of transmissions have their place. Some of the old thoughts no longer apply though. 20 years ago manuals always had better gas mileage. That's no longer the case. Automatics aren't more costly to maintain these days. I've had costly trasmission repairs. The last one was having to replace the master cylinder on my 2001 explorer. I don't have a single friend that's had to put any repairs into their automatic transmissions over the past 20 years.
I personally find Manuals give me better performance and fun driving, but let me tell you, there is nothing fun about a Boston Commute driving a stick.
If it's a manual in a truck you lose utility with stick. Towing capacity of manual transmissions are typically 1500lbs+ lower than automatics.
There is a "security" advantage to stick. So few know how to drive them it is a deterant. Heck, a few months ago in Lynn Mass there was a bank robbery and the suspects tried to hi-jack a womans car (with a baby in the back seat) and they got in the car, and right back out because they didn't know how to drive stick!
Fewer friends want to borrow you car as well! :)
Honestly though, I find the biggest reason for fewer manual sales are because of how manufacturers sell options. I have often seen cases where if you wan't a GPS you have to also get a trim level that includes an automatic transmission. There are many times you only have limited trim choices if you want a stick.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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