Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

The Future Of The Manual Transmission



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    It's a sad, sad story, but also a self-fulfilling prophecy. As gov't required testing costs continue to rise and manufacturers are looking for ways to continually cut costs while boosting profit margins, they will also continue to offer less models with a manual transmission. As those models fall outside the scope of vehicles under buyers' consideration, they'll continue to "cave" to the pressures and settle for automatics.

    Granted, automatic trannies are getting better and better, but it saddens me to see how restrictive manual offerings have become. I love the fact that you can still get a fully loaded Fiesta with a MT, and, last I looked, you can do the same for a Focus, but few others offer such versatility. If that stays the case, I may be driving Fords for a long, long time. ;)
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    They were saying 15-20 years when this thread started in 2005. ;)

    As long as it is always 15 years away I am fine with it.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Yes, but that's not the whole story. You can get the Focus and Fiesta ST with a stick, in fact they come only with a stick, but these are the trims with the sport suspension and without the top of the line luxury features available for those models.

    In the few manual shift models left out there from American or Japanese manufacturers, you are forced to choose the sport model or the cheapest stripped model to get the stick. The sport model with the hard suspension and big rims won't be the cup of tea of very many people, and so the popularity of the stick will wane even more... :-(

    I am actually mildly intrigued to see how long Ford sticks it out offering the ST trims on these cars with only a manual for the transmission choice. I am betting it won't be long, more's the pity. I will have to get one while the getting is good (if I don't renew my relationship with the Civic SI - also available ONLY with a stick - once more).

    I am still slightly hopeful that VW will continue to bring manual shifters to the U.S. because they sell so many in Europe, but even with them we see now the Americanization of their line with the Passat designed and built in America, and with very limited manual availability.

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

  • This trend suggests to me that buying a sporty car with a manual transmission might translate into better resale down the road, but that buying a stripped down car with a manual trans is going to be harder to resell or trade in.
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    Honda does not force the sport or the basic model. You can get (and I have done so) an EX with a stickshift. It has the same ride as the top of the line Accord. You can actually get more Accord models with a stickshift in the current generation than you could in the last.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,488
    edited November 2013
    VW is really part of the "older "European "main line" tradition if you will , of the majority of the passenger vehicles being stick shift, albeit DWINDLING. Even Europe has gone from 99% to 95% M/T's, to something more like 80%. VW will continue to bring (to market) the number and percentage of M/T's realistically they project and actually can SELL. For them, the ideal might be the projection was EXACT to VW being able to SELL more then they actually HAD or could factory order. So to say VW has "limited" manual availability M/T might be a statement of not having 100% of the fleet to be sold NOT being manual, but I think it is misleading in any number of ways and levels.

    So one question might be: why would (any) an oem offer an M/T if no one buys them? The other way to look at it would be: IF the majority of Porsche owners 75% + buy A/T's. They would be dumb to have projected incorrectly to have say 26% M/T's.
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,488
    edited November 2013
    This probably falls under "OLD rumors" 2020 END of the line.

    ..."Michael Schätzle, project manager of the new 911, said so in an interview with Automobile, citing sales figures that say 78 percent of the seventh-generation 911 sold with the PDK dual-clutch automatic."... d-out-maybe.html

    ..."While he doesn’t see a future for the stick-shift 911, Schätzle also doesn’t forecast total extinction for the manual transmission anytime soon. He believes budget-minded European customers will keep the demand for cheap, stick-shift economy cars high. Perhaps that’s little consolation for enthusiasts in America, where manuals are most popular in pricier sports cars, but at least we have this: despite his role in 911 development, Schätzle is adamant that his prediction isn’t the official word. “This is a personal opinion,” he said. “No decision has been made.”"... - 1-could-die-by-2020-111057.html
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    Nippononly, you can get both cars in any trim level with either transmission.... except the ST versions, which are stick only. My Fiesta is a fully decked out SES (2011 equivalent of the current MY's "Titanium") and it has a 5-speed manual. Not only are they listed as being available on paper, but they really do make and sell them. My local dealer has two Focus STs on the lot as well as a Fiesta Titanium that has a 5-speed.

    The writing is on the wall that manual offerings will only continue to decline, but that's what people want, right?! LOL :sick:
  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,488
    ..."The writing is on the wall that manual offerings will only continue to decline, but that's what people want, right?! LOL "...

    Defacto and INDEED.

    There has to be a demand for any oem to produce them.

    Another is despite lower costs to produce M/T's: A/T's. CVT's, DSG's, etc. can and DO charge a premium, even as the majority specify them as non standard but STANDARD (majority) equipment. Indeed that might be the real utility of offering a M/T, aka standard transmission.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    at the Ford dealer, a mustang GT convertible outside, and a coupe inside, both with sticks.

    and the Shelby GT 500, of course. Sharp car!

    and sat in a Focus ST.

    so out of the 6-8 cars in the showroom, of the 4 I actually looked at, 3 were sticks! Only the Fusion was a 2 pedaler.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • I'm presently shopping for a small car -- looking mainly at the Fiesta, Sonic and Fiat 500. The nearest Ford and Chevy dealers had precisely ZERO sticks on the lot when I went looking the other day. Driving a dozen miles farther I was able to drive a Fiesta stick, but the only one they had was an ST, which isn't what I plan to buy. They might sell more if they actually had 1 or 2 you could drive. My local Fiat dealer had no such problem, happily.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 13,585
    do a search, and you should find some at a chevy/Ford dealer not too far from you.

    but yeah, they tend to be rare for in stock, and you have to do some hunting usually. Or just order what you want and wait for it to come in (if you can invest the time!)

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • eliaselias Posts: 1,830
    let us know what you think of the Sonic! it shares drivertrain(s) with the Cruze..

    (Fwiw, the cruze LS gets the same mpg as the sonic, and not that much more $, and is way bigger, and has a dreamy shifter/6-speed, super-easy clutch.).

    my GF rented a Fiat 500 for a week - hated it!
  • Tell us what was bad about the Fiat 500. I haven't driven one but I figured, it's small and with a stick shift might be fun to drive.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,830
    i didn't drive the fiat 500 or ride in it, but was told that
    it felt like a toy, felt unsafe driving. (she is not a 'car person' so it was surprising to see such a strong/negative reaction...)
    btw, she's 5' 8"and drives a camry now instead.
    another friend of mine is very interested in the fiat 500, not sure if he rented one yet however. he's 5'4" and his daily-driver is the little/sporty scion .
  • The combination of a very small car PLUS a manual transmission would appeal to a very small buyer base IMO, even smaller than just for the MT. One reason I like the MINI is that it combines the two acceptably, being a well-built and sturdy-feeling car, but nonetheless if you can't tolerate the skate-board wheelbases of these small cars, then you need to be in a cushier car. Small wheelbase can beat you up on washboards and roads like that.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    edited November 2013
    My brother wound up in a 500 for a week or so this summer when his Odyssey got rear-ended. They didn't like it but it was an automatic. But coming from a minivan, the transmission wouldn't have mattered. Just felt way too cramped (and they were just day-tripping in it).

    They sound like fun to me (not the automatic).
  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,407
    A Very small car with a manual transmission sure appeals to me. Just bought a Miata last week. Low miles '95 out of a storage unit. Love it. Bad timing though - single digits tonight.

    I'll probably only put a couple of thousand miles a year on it so it should last me 20+ years. Very happy. I'll have a nice MT as long as I want one. Cleared out a space in the garage for it yesterday.

    Getting in is very interesting. Squat down on your left leg till your but is barely off the ground then slide over. Much easier with the top down - just stand in and plop down. All adds to the charm. Really feels like a time machine - real knobs and buttons and you actually open the door with the key.
  • you'll hurt yourself like that. What you do is insert your butt in first, then swing in.

    Miatas are tight. I would have to modify the seat to own one.
Sign In or Register to comment.