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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    edited February 5

    @dudleyr said: It is basically a copy of the Lotus Elan - except it doesn't break down

    I always considered them to be a modern MG - except they don't break down.

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  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,444

    @Stever@Edmunds said: I always considered them to be a modern MG - except they don't break down.

    Actually I did too, until I read about Mazda's intentions and saw an Elan (on the left above).

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900

    I would call 5700 units a year borderline "niche".

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  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,628

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: I think the MX-5 has an image problem (undeserved, going by sales records) and I don't know how to solve it---maybe Mazda does. Jalopnik website thinks Miata owners fall into 3 categories 1) young guys going to, or coming from, an autocross, and/or completely stoned 2) old guys wishing they were like #1 above and 3) completely confused people who aren't sure why they bought it.

    Jalopnik insists it's not a woman's car anymore, and sales figures do back that up, but the public perception seems to deter that macho 'sports car crowd" who buys a car strictly for performance.

    I DUNNO --I've always respected the car immensely, and never had the slightest urge to own one.

    Sales of all convertibles are declining for a number of reasons. We are discussing them in The Topless One-Percent.forums.edmunds.com/discussion/17148/general/x/the-topless-one-percent#latesthttp://

    As for the idea that the Miata is a "Chick Car", that's pretty much undeserved. I don't think I've sen more than a dozen women driving them since they came out. The typical Miata driver seems to be a middle-aged guy, probably reliving their youthful acquaintance with MGs and Triumphs. I hardly ever see young guys driving them, unless they're beat-up rust traps. It seems like todays youth focuses more on decibels coming out of their speakers than on HP coming out of the tailpipes.

    A successor to the current Mx-5 is being co-developed with one other than Alfa-Romeo. I've come close to buying a Miata but a combination of Italian style and Japanese mechanics could seal the deal.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900

    Early on, there was indeed a rush of female buyers, and that's where the image came from. It was like all the old folks who bought PT Cruisers and Scion xBs---not the demographic Chrysler or Toyota was expecting.

    The Miata could use a bit more "authority" out the tailpipe and some tweeks to the Disney image.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,722
    edited February 6

    That's it. I remember the early Miata days, and a lot of them seemed to be spotted in automatic form with a woman behind the wheel. That with the cute face (which would become much worse in the new century) didn't work to give it a masculine image.

    Funny thing, I know a woman who had a manual Miata, but she's probably in the "what did I do" category. She didn't lower the top nearly often enough, commuted in it a lot, eventually it got hit and totaled. It was replaced with a CVT Versa - so fun wasn't her concern.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    edited February 6

    1997 Mazda Miata: Still

    Still what?

    (Still want one).

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691

    Is it true? Subaru is dropping the 6-speed manual from the Legacy line? There goes another one. :-(

    And I suppose that means the Outback will lose the manual option as well.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,462

    Quite true. Not really surprised, I guess, except that it is Subaru doing it. These aren't driver's cars any more and they haven't made any pretense of such since the 2010 GT.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,478

    Take rate probably super low at this point. Especially in the sedan.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691
    Met someone today with a stick shift Camry, that rarest of all beasts! Toyota hasn't offered one of those in what, ten years?

    I'm disappointed in Subaru over the Legacy...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,478

    Toyota had it within the last few years. In theory.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,916

    I'm looking forward to ordering a manual-shift 2015 GMC colorado or chevy canyon in a few months... Extended cab... There won't be a regular-cab. Maybe I'll wait until 2016, but probably not, because in 8 months from now there will be a new driver in the house to drive my M6 chevy cruze.

    (btw, All new regular-cab pickups will be disappearing soon due to change in how "CAFE" is measured, if they haven't already.)

    Cruze M6 lifetime mpg has dropped below 33, over 58k miles so far, since I've been doing fewer long-highway cruises, and usually prefer the 22 mpg M6 GTO for the long rides.

    manual-shift FTW ! :)

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,691

    Read an article this week that said 1/3 of all Corvettes are bought with a manual...I thought someone in here said it was a much lower number.

    I don't get sports car buyers who buy automatics...it removes so much of the involvement of the drive...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 11

    It was probably me that said it, with 20 % of the passenger vehicle fleet being M/T. But the lower % is more OVERALL not just 1/3 of Corvettes for one or two models years being M/T.

    So for example the 2001 Corvette Z06 was 100 % 6 speed M/T's. I don't recalled the exact total Corvette sales that year but it was app 33/34k. So with 5995 Z06 sales that put Corvette MT sales @ a minimum of 18%. When you add app 20% of the other line being M/T (+5.6k) That year was more like 34% M/T's. So if Chevrolet offered a A/T option in the Z06, most certainly the % would have been FAR lower than 34%.

    For me, I would prefer a sports car with an M/T.

  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,668

    @nippononly said: Met someone today with a stick shift Camry, that rarest of all beasts! Toyota hasn't offered one of those in what, ten years?
    I'm disappointed in Subaru over the Legacy...

    2011 was the last model year for 6 speed manual transmission Camry.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 11

    To state the obvious, NOT offering an M/T in the (bread & butter) Toyota Camry lines and other model lines ( too numerous to mention {continually diminishing MT offerings} ) has not hurt Toyota in any to all the metrics it choses to measure in the process of serving the markets, it choses to serve. If anything, they HIT habitually the #'s 1,2,3 place in world wide auto oem rankings.(other players are GM,VW)

    On a practical level, I think they (the food chain) are more persuaded by the M/T equipped vehicles (any to all model lines) that either are hard to sell, have to discount abnormally or a combination of both or remain on the dealer's lots an "abnormally" long time. Do not discount the A/T sells for @ least 1k over the "standard" M/T. In terms of what folks ACTUALLY buy the term "standard" is actually misused to reversed.

    The real improvement is even as it sits on one dealers' lot a LONG time, it is listed in the over all US logistics system. So in effect if there is a Toyota M/T buyer/driver in down town Washington D.C and the dream machine is in rural Georgia, there is an almost instant hook up.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568

    CAFE probably has more to do with the switch away from manuals in the US than anything. There's nothing wrong with a manual that some savvy advertising couldn't "fix". New automatics and CVTs just get better mpg, at least on the EPA tests.

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  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,444

    @Stever@Edmunds said: CAFE probably has more to do with the switch away from manuals in the US than anything. There's nothing wrong with a manual that some savvy advertising couldn't "fix". New automatics and CVTs just get better mpg, at least on the EPA tests.

    Just not in real life. CR has been doing head to head tests of MT and AT of the same model for years and the MT always wins. And yes that includes automated manuals like the VW TDI. EPA favors automatics because they can be tuned to match the EPA test.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,568
    edited February 12

    Kind of like having a crash that's not "in the book". You wind up with unintended consequences when you design for the test. So now we're stuck with automatics and the real world CAFE fleet numbers are a smidge lower than they could be.

    That supposition overlooks the large numbers of "sporty" MT drivers who love to drag race from one red light to the next. :D

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 12

    @dudleyr said: Just not in real life. CR has been doing head to head tests of MT and AT of the same model for years and the MT always wins. And yes that includes automated manuals like the VW TDI. EPA favors automatics because they can be tuned to match the EPA test.

    You might agree with this (or not). The fly in the ointment , or what I refer to as the 800# gorilla in the room is the correct combination (12 Passat 2.0 L 4 cylinder TDI with (only a LOW tech) 6 speed manual transmission) TRUMPS LOADs of complicated high tech. This is assembled in the USA !! (Chattanooga, TN) The H EPA rating is @ 43 mpg, which is "segment leading".

    The Taylor's set a one tank record of 84 mpg +PLUS . Wayne Gerdes (who actually is an Edmunds.com posting alumnus) set an app 8,200 miles trip @ 77+plus mpg trip record

    autotrader.com/research/article/car-news/210689/volkswagen-passat-tdi-sets-world-record-for-fuel-economy.jsp

    Notice it beat HIS own hybrid record. Nobody else threw up a hybrid against either of them that beat EITHER record, including himself.

    The M/T nexus here:

    IF a slush box 4/5/6/7/8/9 speed, 6/7/8 speed DSG, CVT, et al., could have beaten the (relatively) low tech 6 speed M/T, they most certainly would have !!!!! So the interesting thing given the 7 speed Tremec in the 14 Corvette Stingray (rumored to post 30 mpg) all VW would have to do is to add another GEAR !! ???

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900
    edited February 12

    @nippononly said: Read an article this week that said 1/3 of all Corvettes are bought with a manual...I thought someone in here said it was a much lower number.

    I don't get sports car buyers who buy automatics...it removes so much of the involvement of the drive...

    I'll give you my theory---it's not much fun rowing a gearshift in big, heavy, wide supercars. With that size and enormous power a gearshift is just one more distraction you don't need if you are the type of driver who likes to go 9/10th sometime.

    also the Corvette demographic is rather aged, and you know, creaky knees and elbows and all that.

    If I ever bought a new or near new Vette or Ferrari, I'd certainly opt for the DSG type of transmission because I'd intend to drive the crap out of it. I mean, it's ridiculous (to me) to have a car that goes 65 mph in first gear. To what purpose?

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 13

    I have never had any issues taking a Corvette on two lane winding rolling hills kind of roads; Highway One as the iconic example (about as west as one can get within eye shot of falling in the western drink, aka Pacific Ocean. However those iconic roads were not ever designed to carry huge loads of traffic, nor for "higher speed" conveyance. Now if one likes the engine screaming like a banshee, and working the clutch and shifting gears like a mad person, wind in the hair, etc. then really the "Japanese" Triumph/Bug Eye Sprite (you know the drill) Miata, Mini might be in the element, until one comes up on a SLOW moving RV dragging a small car behind it. They are usually not local types and understand that CA law about holding up 5 cars...... Now can you really blame them? They just don't want the breakfast dishes to go flying around in the house. ;)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900

    Well sure in a Bug Eye the acceleration is about as fast as the earth's crust cooling, but a supercharged Mini can move out right quick for passing and there's still room at the guard rail. In a Corvette on the Pacific Hwy you only need one gear, like 3rd, for the entire day's journey.

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 13

    @MrShift@Edmunds said: Well sure in a Bug Eye the acceleration is about as fast as the earth's crust cooling, but a supercharged Mini can move out right quick for passing and there's still room at the guard rail. In a Corvette on the Pacific Hwy you only need one gear, like 3rd, for the entire day's journey.

    10 to 12 seconds pass ( in the WRONG lane) can feel like forever, or can be the gateway TO forever !

    Be careful out there ! (as they used to say in an OLD cop show !)

    One gear pass? Works for me !! :D (in a pinch or IF I mess up) Normally it is a signal, lamps on, double declutch, drop into the appropriate gear, signal, pull out to pass, pass, (sometimes shift) put back in, up shift. It almost takes longer to put this to print. While I love the sounds, I can see why some folks do not like them. Anymore, I am into "let sleeping dogs lie."

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900

    Any gear is a passing gear in a new Corvette. The Mini has about 180HP, that's plenty good for passing, after a downshift of course, to spool up the turbo or the supercharger.

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  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 13

    Either in a Corvette, 385 hp, Jetta TDI, 90 hp, its all good ! (your case Mini 180 hp) ! Actually just got back from a client's site, rowing over and back on highway one ! B) Only did 50.7 mpg :( . So sad!

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,201

    I enjoy the manual transmission in my Fiat 500, but agree with Shifty regarding the newer Corvettes and similar cars. Any late model, high powered car I would own would be automatic. That wouldn't have been the case with the performance cars of the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s, when automatics had fewer gears and more slippage. The exception, back in the day, was the Hydra-Matic, before it was coupled with a torque converter. It featured 4 speeds, at a time when most manuals had 3, and little slippage.

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,864
    edited February 13

    They are probably some of the good reasons why you don't have one (Corvette or a Corvette M/T) or are in the dwindling demographic GM aims @ or sells to. Additionally, we are not going back to those days: whether M/T's die a death, expand, contract or stay in arrested population decay.

    I do not keep up with this, but Chevrolet Corvette management for YEARS have only built cars with someone's NAME on it, i.e.., a pretty definite paying customer (dealer, entities, individuals, etc.), albeit the majority being A/T with optional to standard 6/7 speed M/T's IN the minority. Now there are folks that do a deposit and cancel or change their minds for one reason or another. I am swaging they are an unknown smaller percentage. I also have seen in passing that 13 Corvette sales are @ app 17.291 k. I do not know what they expect to sell in 14 MY. So in effect, new car buyers really do not need to "settle" for A/T, M/T.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,900

    Corvette is off to a really good start in 2014. Sales have been dropping steadily since 2002 (drastically, actually) but 2013 was an uptick.

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