Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

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Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby Standardshifter » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:18 am

A few days old, but a good one:

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'The sky's been falling for 50 years now, it seems. In September 1965, Playboy published an article by automotive-journalism legend Ken Purdy. It opened with a two-page shot of a Corvette shifter covered in cobwebs and the headline "Bye-Bye Stick Shift."'

http://www.roadandtrack.com/boot/whats-really-killing-the-manual-transmisson
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby daleadbull » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:33 am

Good read.

My theory on why manuals seem to be doomed (with a few exceptions in the enthusiast focused models) is that its a never ending cycle. Car makers don't want to offer manual versions of a car anymore because the take rate is so low but from the customers point of view they don't buy is because its obvious that most of the R&D is spent on the automatic. The manual transmission in general has pretty much been unchanged for a while now while the dual clutch transmissions and torque converters are getting better and better every year. Sure Porsche and a few others seem to be putting some effort into it by offering auto rev matching and 7 speeds etc.

Here's another issue, even if the automakers want to upgrade the manual they will receive backlash from the "purists" for messing with perfection. This is part of this vicious cycle too: car makers don't make any changes to manual tranny --> buyers call the manual outdated and choose the auto. Car makers make changes and offer new features in the manual --> enthusiasts rebel and say that they are messing with perfection. I feel like because of this, some automakers just abandon the manual all together. Its like neither side can win.

We need someone to take a risk and make a stand, either the buyers by demanding they want the manual or the automakers by offering the manual transmission even if it doesn't make financial sense. Break the cycle! :)
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby theholycow » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:45 am

Well said, daleadbull! That is really quite insightful.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby tankinbeans » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:48 am

2 posts featuring the same article in the same night? WTF, mate?

As daleadbull said, it's a chicken and egg thing. Are manufacturers not making them because people don't buy them, or are people not buying them because manufacturers don't make them?

I've always known at least one person who drives a manual and will seek out a manual above all else, which more and more means used. If you're being a used vehicle, your preference doesn't really makes itself known to the new car manufacturers because they don't really pay attention to the used market.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby Boston Fit » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:22 am

Remember that manuals started losing popularity ages ago, back when automatics were more primitive than they are now, and when they were a drain on acceleration and fuel efficiency. In other words, U.S. consumers preferred even crude automatics that guzzled more gas and performed a bit worse than their manual counterparts. Now that automatics have become vastly more refined, more fuel efficient, and quicker than they were before, I (unfortunately) don't see how any amount of refinement in manual technology would change consumer behavior in large numbers. I'm afraid the likes of us are destined to occupy a niche consumer segment.

But I do agree with the spirit of daleadbull's comments - that manual enthusiasts would be wise to make purchase decisions that give them the loudest voice and support the long-term viability of the manual transmission platform. What does that mean in practice? I don't really know. Perhaps opting for premium-trim stick-only models like the Subaru STi, Mazdaspeed3, VW Golf R, etc. (as opposed to base-level manual models)? Just a theory.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby theholycow » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:57 pm

I suspect that there were two threads because two people saw the same blog entry or something like that.

Yes, definitely vote with your dollars. However, buying a stick-only model sends the message that "I like stick or I will at least tolerate it to get the car that I want." Buying a manual vehicle offered both with manual and auto says very clearly "I will struggle to find the manual transmission because I do not want to tolerate an automatic." A mid trim level Golf with manual is a stronger statement than a Golf R.

Of course, even more important than voting with your dollars is buying the right car for you.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby InlinePaul » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:16 pm

If Henry F were still alive,
He'd say, what's this jive?
Electro gizmos, fiddle faddle,
Automatic shift and a paddle.
Nay! Standard shift I'll drive!
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theholycow wrote:Why in the world would you even want to be as smooth as an automatic? Might as well just drive an automatic...

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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby daleadbull » Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:34 pm

theholycow wrote:I suspect that there were two threads because two people saw the same blog entry or something like that.

Yes, definitely vote with your dollars. However, buying a stick-only model sends the message that "I like stick or I will at least tolerate it to get the car that I want." Buying a manual vehicle offered both with manual and auto says very clearly "I will struggle to find the manual transmission because I do not want to tolerate an automatic." A mid trim level Golf with manual is a stronger statement than a Golf R.

Of course, even more important than voting with your dollars is buying the right car for you.


Well, both are good imo. Buying a regular Golf or a GTI in manual instead of DSG says that you prefer manual over automatic. On the other hand, buying a Golf R which comes manual only indicates that there is still a place for manuals in performance oriented cars.

Anyway FYI, the next Golf R is supposed to come in both DSG and manual versions which will make things interesting. The take rate on the GTI is around 50% I believe. :)
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby Boston Fit » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:24 pm

theholycow wrote:However, buying a stick-only model sends the message that "I like stick or I will at least tolerate it to get the car that I want." Buying a manual vehicle offered both with manual and auto says very clearly "I will struggle to find the manual transmission because I do not want to tolerate an automatic." A mid trim level Golf with manual is a stronger statement than a Golf R.

I agree with your mid-tier trim level scenario, although it seems more common these days for stick to be offered on base-trim models, where consumer choice could be motivated by a lower price.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby theholycow » Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:30 pm

Yeah, that's very true...and if you buy it there, the message is "I might prefer stick or I might just tolerate it to save money". :(
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby Rope-Pusher » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:59 pm

Image
Stick it to the man!
Last edited by Rope-Pusher on Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby daleadbull » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:34 am

Rope-Pusher wrote:Image
Stick to to the man!

Quick somebody come up with a witty thing to say, Rope made a typo!

Uh... ahh I don't want to stick any man in the tutu? No, didn't work? Ok sorry, :arrow: I'll see myself out...
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby theholycow » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:47 am

:lol:
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Re: Here's what's really killing the manual transmission

Postby Rope-Pusher » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:34 pm

Image

Typo? I ain't got no Typo. I doan neet no Typo. I doan neet to show you any steen-keen Typos.
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