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Honda's Manual Take Rates Offer A Glimmer Of Hope

Transmission / Comments

Just don't dig too deep.

Following a drive in the 2020 Toyota GR Supra, we got to wondering just how many manual transmissions Toyota sells these days. The results, we're disappointed to say, only mounted more evidence to the argument that manual transmissions are dying out. That initial inquiry started our dive into the rabbit hole where we discovered that the Hyundai Genesis G70 with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder - the only G70 offered with a manual - also had a dismal manual take rate.

However, that doesn't seem to be the case for Honda. According to Autoblog, the Japanese automaker actually sold 30% more manuals in 2018 than it did in 2017. On the surface, that news sounds fantastic. Especially when taking into account that overall sales were down by 2.2% for Honda over the same period.

It's when you stack that figure against sales of Honda's automatics, however, that all hope flies out the window. When comparing sales of Hondas with a manual transmission to total overall vehicle sales, the number works out to only a 2.8% manual take rate. Excluding models that don't offer the option of a stick shift only brings that number up mildly.

Proving that the Civic is the enthusiast's pick when compared to the Toyota Corolla is the model's 13.6% manual take rate, but keep in mind that number is skewed by offerings like the manual-only Civic Type R and Civic Si.

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What's interesting about comparing Honda and Toyota's rates is that each automaker offers a different version of the automatic transmission. Honda has thoroughly embraced CVT transmissions, and while the Corolla is only offered with a CVT if buyers don't go for the manual, most models in Toyota's lineup also have the option to go with a regular automatic transmission. Looks like the having to put up with a CVT hasn't completely pushed Honda customers back to driving manuals.

Unfortunately, the fact that both Honda and Toyota are aggressively cutting costs to focus on EV technology may mean that the manual transmission may be on its last legs within both brands.