Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

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Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby Standardshifter » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:33 am

"Is the manual transmission dead? Die-hard auto enthusiasts may shout out: “No way” but is anyone listening? If you’re in the market for a new car, a manual transmission might be a good idea, for a few key reasons."

A fairly standard :roll: case for manuals nowadays, but it is good to see these articles still popping up.

http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2013/04/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-manual-transmission.html
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby tankinbeans » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:41 pm

I've read this before, as you've already stated. The standard points about cost, trim level availability, ease of use, economy. The list goes on.

Why is it so hard to come up with a more original argument?

Also, under which rock has this guy been living? Unless this is an older article, and I can only speak for the Focus, the Focus is available with a manual across the line up (aside from their Focus Electric). I know that originally Focus TIs were auto only, but Ford have reversed and have begun offering them with manuals too.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby InlinePaul » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:38 pm

Good reason to buy a car with a manual transmission is that the more purchased the greater the message to the manufacturers that manuals sell. All they care about is sales. Of course they won't hesitate killing a selling vehicle (Ford Ranger) to benefit another (F150). So the whole thing is preverse. All we can do is keep buying them and hope they keep making them.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby DKaz » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:45 pm

I wonder if the fact that more Americans drive to work per capita and their commutes are longer as well. Europeans tend to bike or take transit to work so their cars are reserved for evenings and weekends when driving manual is a lot more enjoyable.

At least that's the perception. I don't think driving an automatic in rush hour traffic is any better than driving a manual.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby theholycow » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:13 pm

^On the traffic issue: My wife prefers manual in traffic backup. I prefer auto with a handbrake.

On the sending a message thing: Always vote with your dollars. Money talks, BS walks. Businesses are in business to make money and will be happy to sell whatever makes money. Unfortunately there is one caveat: They may not make as much on manuals, which the market demands have a lower price despite having a severe disadvantage compared to the economy of scale with slushboxen. They sacrificed Ranger sales to try to push F150 sales for a similar reason; the Ranger is required by the market to be inexpensive and margins are low compared to the F150, plus the cost advantage the F150 can get from increased volume.

“Of the insurance total losses we processed last year that were related to theft, only 14% were manual transmission” says Baliwalla.
Uh...that doesn't sound good at all. I don't think manuals account for 14% of covered vehicles. That would mean that manuals are more likely to be stolen.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby tankinbeans » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:31 pm

Cow, I'm not sure I'm following you vis-a-vis manuals and insurance. How do you figure that they're more likely to be stolen?

I take that to mean that out of 100 car thefts 14 are manuals. An I missing some statistical nuance here?
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby Boston Fit » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:58 pm

theholycow wrote:They may not make as much on manuals, which the market demands have a lower price despite having a severe disadvantage compared to the economy of scale with slushboxen.


I'm not sure market forces are at play here; I suspect other considerations apply. Manuals, in many cases, exist solely to lower the base price of a particular model - that's my theory, anyway. For example, a 6-speed manual 2013 Mazda CX-5 is available exclusively on the lowest trim level with FWD (not AWD) and only the most basic options - a package that few consumers will want. Ditto for the 2013 VW Tiguan. Even if these manuals have very low take rates, they allow the manufacturer to advertise a "starting" MSRP that is roughly $1,500 less than it otherwise would be.

So it's not that the market demands low-priced manuals, it simply does NOT demand them in numbers sufficient to justify their existence (in many cases). Instead, they exist solely to support an artificially low starting price.

Speaking as a consumer, there is only one reason why I prefer manuals, and that's the fun factor. In modern vehicles, all the practical advantages - fuel economy, performance - are so small or nonexistent that they alone would not make me want to drive stick.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby Boston Fit » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:02 pm

tankinbeans wrote:Cow, I'm not sure I'm following you vis-a-vis manuals and insurance. How do you figure that they're more likely to be stolen?
I take that to mean that out of 100 car thefts 14 are manuals. An I missing some statistical nuance here?


I think he is theorizing that less than 14% of covered vehicles are manual, in which case a 14% claim rate would be unexpectedly high - rather than low, as the article posits. Maybe the discrepancy has to do with the fact that the universe of covered vehicles includes older-model cars from years where manual take rates were higher, such that more than 14% are presently insured? I'm just guessing.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby theholycow » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:43 pm

Boston Fit wrote:I think he is theorizing that less than 14% of covered vehicles are manual, in which case a 14% claim rate would be unexpectedly high - rather than low, as the article posits. Maybe the discrepancy has to do with the fact that the universe of covered vehicles includes older-model cars from years where manual take rates were higher, such that more than 14% are presently insured? I'm just guessing.

Yes, that is exactly what I meant. If 5 out of 100 cars on the road are manual but 14 out of 100 stolen are manual, that's almost 3x the rate for manuals than it is for slushboxen.

Older models are no more manual than newer models; in fact, in the past couple years there have been more, as has been posted a few times. If you go back far enough that there were more manuals you're in $500 beater territory where people get minimal or no insurance, certainly not any theft coverage.

If the discrepancy is as I suggested, then I suspect these factors are in play:
1. Manuals are more commonly available in Hondas than the market as a whole. Hondas are also the most-stolen car.
2. Manuals are found in higher percentages in the custom cars that people want to steal when they're not stealing stock Hondas.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby Shadow » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:54 pm

InlinePaul wrote:Good reason to buy a car with a manual transmission is that the more purchased the greater the message to the manufacturers that manuals sell. All they care about is sales.


For the most part, the car manufacturers are getting the message loud and clear. In fact, there are now quite a few cars that have the option of a manual transmission in North America and not in Europe. BMW, for example, has stated that some of its new models (like the M5) will only be available in the North American market with a stick. And if you want an Audi S5 with a stick, you can only get it here, not in Europe.

Ironically, it was Europeans who really favored stick shift cars, so I'm not sure why manufacturers are turning their backs on Europe and catering to Americans. Maybe the tide is starting to change.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby IMBoring25 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:14 am

theholycow wrote:If the discrepancy is as I suggested, then I suspect these factors are in play:
1. Manuals are more commonly available in Hondas than the market as a whole. Hondas are also the most-stolen car.
2. Manuals are found in higher percentages in the custom cars that people want to steal when they're not stealing stock Hondas.


3. Note also that the quote references total losses, not total stolen cars. Total losses would be a dollar value. If we posit that manuals skew to both ends of the market and that the $500 beaters are unlikely to be stolen, it is possible that the average stolen manual skews towards a specialty vehicle with a higher dollar value than the average stolen automatic.

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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby theholycow » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:40 am

IMBoring25 wrote:3. Note also that the quote references total losses, not total stolen cars. Total losses would be a dollar value. If we posit that manuals skew to both ends of the market and that the $500 beaters are unlikely to be stolen, it is possible that the average stolen manual skews towards a specialty vehicle with a higher dollar value than the average stolen automatic.

I think in that context they meant the quantity of "total loss" claims, not the total volume of losses.
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Re: Should You Buy a Car With a Manual Transmission?

Postby DKaz » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:47 pm

Good reason to buy a brand new car with manual, even though it is financially wiser to buy 1-4 year old used.
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