Stick shift trend 1950-2011

All the news that's fit to shift.
User avatar
Boston Fit
Senior Standardshifter
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: People's Republic of Massachusetts

Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Boston Fit » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:43 pm

Here's a cool graph from this NPR story, plotting U.S. manual vs. automatic sales since 1950.

I was surprised to see the following ...

• How steep the curves are between 1950-1970, when manuals plummeted from 67% to about 10%.

• The blip in manual sales around 1980, which I assume was tied to the 1970's oil crisis at a time when manuals delivered dramatically better gas mileage.

• How flat the curves have been since 1990. Somehow I would have expected a steeper decline in manual sales over that period of time.

• Manual sales in 1970 are almost identical to 2011 (approx. 9-10%). I would have guessed a higher sales rate in 1970.

I'm sure the underlying data is already well-known to stick enthusiasts, but it was interesting to see the graph.
2013 Honda Civic Si

User avatar
Squint
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3390
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: KY

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Squint » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:52 pm

Interesting story and graph. There are a few companies that still push the manual (Mini, for example) but most are cutting back. My question, what vehicles did they take into consideration for their information? All vehicles sold? Consumer vehicles vs commercial vehicles? But I completely agree with the C&D guy, people need to get off the technology (not that it isn't cool to have, but use it appropriately) and have fun driving.
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

User avatar
Shadow
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3322
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:51 am
Location: New York

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Shadow » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:28 am

Wow....I would have expected a steeper decline than what is represented on the graph. Maybe things aren't as bad as I had thought.
Last edited by Shadow on Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image

User avatar
Shadow
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3322
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:51 am
Location: New York

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Shadow » Thu Apr 19, 2012 12:32 am

I wonder how they are classifying the various automated manual transmissions? Maybe they are lumping them in with the true manual transmissions???
Image

User avatar
Squint
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3390
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: KY

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Squint » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:40 am

I would like to see as well, Shadow. Because I thought it would have declined more in the recent years.
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

User avatar
Shadow
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3322
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:51 am
Location: New York

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Shadow » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:59 am

Squint wrote:I would like to see as well, Shadow. Because I thought it would have declined more in the recent years.


Yeah, that occurred to me a minute or two after my first response. A good example is the smart fortwo. In the U.S. it only comes with an automated manual transmission, which by design, is basically a manual gearbox that has an automated clutch solenoid that enables it to shift itself. But if you were to look at the gearbox, it's basically a manual transmission without a clutch pedal. So how would it be classified? We all know it's not a true manual transmission, but it's also hard to call it an automatic transmission, despite the fact that it has the ability to shift itself. The lines have blurred with all of the various dual-clutch and automated manuals out there these days...
Image

User avatar
Boston Fit
Senior Standardshifter
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 9:28 pm
Location: People's Republic of Massachusetts

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Boston Fit » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:07 am


Shadow - Good question, about how automated manuals and the like get classified. I would be surprised if it affects overall numbers very much, though. For what it's worth, the manual transmissions that I love have three pedals. That's what makes it fun.

By the way, however you want to categorize it, the Smart ForTwo has the worst transmission I've ever experienced. Shifts are slow and jerky, the gear selector works when it wants to ... the car is like a prototype that never should have been released to market.

2013 Honda Civic Si

User avatar
Squint
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3390
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:44 pm
Location: KY

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Squint » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:24 am

Boston Fit wrote:
By the way, however you want to categorize it, the Smart ForTwo has the worst transmission I've ever experienced. Shifts are slow and jerky, the gear selector works when it wants to ... the car is like a prototype that never should have been released to market.


Thank you. It is terrible. My brother-in-law had one, and I was NOT impressed at all. There are far better small cars with small transmissions out there...
'15 Mazda 3 iSport Hatch 6MT
'11 Ford Fiesta Hatchback SE 5MT
'14 Giant Escape City 24MT
'97 Honda Civic EX 4AT - Retired @ 184,001 mi

For Pony!

User avatar
Shadow
Master Standardshifter
Posts: 3322
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:51 am
Location: New York

Re: Stick shift trend 1950-2011

Postby Shadow » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:34 pm

Boston Fit wrote:
Shadow - Good question, about how automated manuals and the like get classified. I would be surprised if it affects overall numbers very much, though. For what it's worth, the manual transmissions that I love have three pedals. That's what makes it fun.

By the way, however you want to categorize it, the Smart ForTwo has the worst transmission I've ever experienced. Shifts are slow and jerky, the gear selector works when it wants to ... the car is like a prototype that never should have been released to market.



I wonder if there are more automated manual vehicles sold today than true manual vehicles....the numbers certainly must be catching up, no? I mean, if we lump together all the various types of automated manuals, I'd think it would be a significant number.

I agree about the smart car. The transmission is a nightmare. A co-worker of mine had one and she got rid of it mainly because she couldn't deal with the herky-jerky transmission.
Image


Return to “Manuals in the News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest