Are Drivers Returning to Manual Transmissions?
According to a new study, the short answer is yes. But the long answer is still no.
It's a nice thought, and I wish it were true. But it doesn't follow what's actually happening. More bluntly: If this is anything other than a statistical blip, I'll eat my hat.
Before we go any further, let's take a look at the numbers cited. USA Today says that:
... in the first quarter of this year, manuals were in 6.5% of new vehicles sold, and that's getting close to double each of the past five years. It's also highest since 7.2% in 2006, according to Edmunds.com.
That high "take rate," as the industry calls it, is even more impressive because just 19% of the 2,360 different models on sale offer manuals, Edmunds.com reports. Five years ago, 29% of the 2,391 available styles did — yet only 2.9% were sold with stick shifts that year, the lowest "take rate" in a decade.
Edmunds.com calculated the "take rate" of manuals for Drive On. The 2012 calculation is for the first quarter of the year. The others are full-year:
2012 - 6.5%, 2011 - 3.8%, 2010 - 3.9%, 2009 - 4.4%, 2008 - 3.7%, 2007 - 2.9%, 2006 - 7.2%, 2005 - 6.7%, 2004 - 5.5%, 2004 - 5.5%, 2003 - 8.2%, 2002 - 8.5%.
It's common knowledge that the manual transmission will eventually die off; engineers have managed to make modern automatics both more efficient and more reliable than their three-pedal counterparts. Fewer vehicles are offered with a manual every year, and manufacturers almost universally say that decision is driven by customer choice; people don't buy three-pedal cars, so carmakers don't make them. Even in Europe, where manual transmissions are both more common and more loved, the numbers are shrinking.
I prefer to keep both of my hands on the steering wheel since it is a safer way to operate a vehicle.
I prefer to keep one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the stick shift since THAT is safer way to operate a vehicle.
A person with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand on the stick shift who is concentrating on his driving because he has to is safer then someone with both hands on the steering wheel who isn't paying attention to anything because they don't have to.
I enjoy driving a stick once in awhile but like the majority of people (excluding Europeans that apparently need a stick shift to feel smart) I don't want one, unless it is attached to a muscle car.
I have lived in the city and owned a stick, never again, it sucked.
With today's newer technology in transmissions, I don't believe that you have any more control over your car because you are shifting it yourself. My car has the option of shifting manually or using automatic, the only time I use the manual option is to control a downhill descent or while slowing down while towing a trailer.
But, to each his own I suppose.
I sit in stop and go traffic every day and I still won't consider switching to an automatic. I don't understand what the problem with stop and go traffic is.
I tried an automatic once. I had it less then one year before dumping it. Personally, I'm not to worried about where the trends are going. Manuals may one day be gone, but it's unlikely that it will be within my lifetime. As long as the models I am interested in are offered with a manual, I will be happy.
I love my manual, but then again, I don't really commute in traffic.
Me too. However, on one occasion I was stuck in a large traffic jam. I inched along for two hours. I was glad I had chosen to take my wife's automatic equiped car that day. If I had taken my manual equiped car it would have killed my left leg.
Regardless of the trends, I still think knowing how to drive a manual transmission should be man law.
It's common knowledge that the manual transmission will eventually die off; engineers have managed to make modern automatics both more efficient and more reliable than their three-pedal counterparts. Fewer vehicles are offered with a manual every year, and manufacturers almost universally say that decision is driven by customer choice; people don't buy three-pedal cars, so carmakers don't make them. Even in Europe, where manual transmissions are both more common and more loved, the numbers are shrinking.Where is the documentation to support your claim? When was the last time you were in Europe, and how many automatics versus how many manuals did you see? Did you keep track, or is this purely propaganda? Is someone from the Big Three looking to push the excess automatics before the next year's model, or what?
In Europe, EVERY mainstream vehicle which sells in the United States, comes with a manual transmission STANDARD.
Take a mazda CX-7 SUV for example. That vehicle only sells as an automatic in the U.S.; in Europe, the manual transmission is STANDARD, even though it is an SUV!
Take minivans, small cars, large cars: except for traditionally automatic brands like the Bentley, they all come with a manual. Even the minivans! BMW and Mercedes, which in the U.S. sell most models like the E-class as automatic only, offer those models with manual transmissions in Europe as STANDARD.
Europeans WILL NOT drive an automatic; they consider it an insult to their intelligence and driving ability. Automatic transmissions will never gain a foothold there. Along with a big hamburger and diet coke, they are considered "something only Americans would use" (actual quote).
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