straight cash homie
Further analysis:Unsurprisingly, the number isn't very large.
It's no secret that manual transmissions are a dying breed, and many automakers refuse to even build them anymore. Even though enthusiasts love to claim they'd one car or another as long as it had a manual, very few buyers are actually putting their money where their mouth is, and the sales numbers prove it. Toyota is one of a handful of car companies that continues to offer a manual option on several of its cars. The Corolla sedan and hatchback, Tacoma, Yaris sedan, and 86 are still offered with manuals, but the take rates are very low. Speaking with Toyota at the launch event for the new Supra, CarBuzz learned just how low.
While sitting at dinner, the topic of manual transmissions came up and we asked to see exactly what percentage of new Toyota cars come with a manual. "I can find you that," said Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell, before showing CarBuzz an email detailing the breakdown of manual take rates across the lineup.
The Corolla lineup has the lowest take rate at less than 1%. With around 280,000 Corollas sold in the United States in 2018, this means less than 2,800 were delivered with a manual transmission. "It's not very high for the Corolla as a whole, but it is better if you just count the hatchback," Hubbell said.
If you only count the Corolla hatchback, which was developed with an all-new six-speed manual transmission, the take rate is much higher at 15%, though hatchback sales pale in comparison to the sedan. The outlook for manuals in the Tacoma and Yaris isn't much better, with buyers of both cars opting for them around 5% of the time. Since the take rate on the Mazda-built Yaris sedan was so low, Toyota decided not to offer the new 2020 Yaris hatchback with a manual option.
Although the Corolla, Tacoma, and Yaris manual take rates are somewhat worrying, the 86 should make up for it...right? Well, we expected a sports car like the 86 to have a much higher take rate than the mainstream cars, but the number is only around 33%. This means two-thirds of 86 buyers are opting for the six-speed automatic in a car that desperately cries out for a manual. If you had any doubt that the manual transmission is dying, the proof is in the sales numbers.
As much as it pains us to say it, manual transmissions are on their way out. While car enthusiasts bemoan the matter incessantly, as we just did, the reality is that most drivers aren’t interested in owning something with a stick. It’s gotten to a point where many automakers no longer offer vehicles with a manual transmission, or just keep one high-performance model around with an optional clutch pedal just to appease a subset of their customer base.
Toyota, which sells more manual models than most, recently spilled its guts to CarBuzz after the outlet requested the company reveal the percentage of its new cars still sold with a manual while attending the Supra launch event.
The resulting figures are about what you’d expect.
At the time of this writing, Toyota still sells manual variants of the Yaris, Corolla, 86 coupe, and Tacoma pickup — albeit not in every trim. However, the world’s most prolific automobile (the Corolla) saw less than 1 percent of U.S. buyers opt for a manual transmission in 2018. Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell said that breaks down to roughly 2,800 vehicles. “It’s not very high for the Corolla as a whole, but it is better if you just count the hatchback,” Hubbell said, adding that roughly 15 percent were sold with a stick.
Once again, hatchback owners prove themselves to be the real automotive enthusiast — or perhaps this author’s disgusting bias is showing. Still, it should be said that Toyota intentionally positioned the new-for-2019 hatch as the more performance-oriented choice, even if we were to go by looks alone. It’s possible the company could boost those manual numbers a bit if it found a way to run with the hatch’s diet-performance image while adding some power, but without breaking the bank.
The 86, which you might expect to have a more even split, as it is quite literally an enthusiast car, only saw a third of its brethren shipped with a stick in 2018. Considering that a six-speed manual was supposed to be part of its overall appeal, and that stick-shift models actually boast five additional horsepower, this was quite the surprise.
Meanwhile, the Yaris and Tacoma saw around 5 percent of U.S. customers choosing to row their own gears in 2018. That breaks down to about 12,280 pickups and just 97 examples of the itty-bitty hatchback.
With that in mind, it should be no surprise as to why Toyota decided against providing the Yaris with a manual option for the 2020 model year and has already relegated clutch pedals to well-equipped Tacoma TRDs with the beefier V6.
Yeah, yeah. We know you hate it. But the manual is living on borrowed time, continuing to lose prominence as fewer and fewer adults bother to learn how to drive stick. We’re just glad some manufacturers still bothering providing them, as there’s not much of a financial case to be made anymore.