By on September 4, 2014

disco

“A little learning”, wrote the crippled poet from his infamous grotto, “is a dangerous thing.” Here’s an example. What effect does the choice of a manual transmission have on resale value? If, like me, you’ve bought and sold cars for more than twenty-five years now, your snap response will be “Manual transmissions sell for more.”

This being 2014, however, some kid with access to secondhand Manheim auction reports will strain his mousing finger with a detailed correction of that assertion, complete with dozens of copy-and-pasted sale records. You cannot argue with his data — it’s right there in black and white. Manual transmission cars are worth less. But you know he’s wrong somehow, because you’ve been in the trenches and you’ve worked deals yourself.

Maybe the problem isn’t with you, or the kid’s data. Maybe it’s a case of simply not understanding what that data means.

To explain why, I’ll reach back into the past, all the way to July of 2010, when I sold my lime-green Audi S5. Having owned the car for two years at that point, I was well aware of the fact that my color choice had made the car “resale poison”, because every fifteen-year-old in America had voiced that opinion on some car-related forum at some point. As far as I can tell, the reasoning behind that opinion was:

  • Most people who want an Audi S5 want it in a “German” color.
  • The only German colors are silver, black, grey, and white.
  • Therefore, in order to be worth anything on the secondary market, the car has to be one of those colors.

Let’s put aside for a minute the staggering historical ignorance in thinking that German cars have always been limited to non-colors. After all, the Porsches of the Sixties and the Audis of the Seventies came in colors from lime green to light tan and at no time was the integrity of the German people harmed in any way as a result. Trabants were always wacky colors and that was despite East Germany being pretty much a collection of unheated concrete buildings. The monochromization of the Fatherland’s automobiles didn’t start in earnest until it became possible to lease them cheaply and all the newbies wanted a silver BMW with the lowest possible payment. What can you do about that? It sucks and that’s why when you drive by your local Bimmer dealer the colorful Bavarias and 320is of yesteryear have been replaced by a line of grey blobs with BMW Financial’s preferred package of auction-friendly equipment.

Sorry about that. I got distracted. Back to the core issue. I believe that grey and silver Audis are more popular than Lime Green Audis. Were Audi to have to pick a single color for next year’s entire A4 production, I believe that silver would be a much better choice than Lime Green. Were I a fleet manager for a major corporation, I’d order my company’s fleet of Audis in silver and not Lime Green.

Yet the fact remains that I paid extra money to get my car in that color and — surprise! — when I sold it, I sold it for approximately six thousand dollars above the average retail sale of grey/silver/black Audi S5s with similar equipment. Can you reconcile these disparate statements of fact? Only if you understand that I am an individual, not a corporation or a dealership, and I sold my automobile to another individual.

I wasn’t buying Audis in bulk, nor was I selling them in bulk. I bought a single car and sold a single car. The color was worth more money to me and it was worth more money to him and that’s all that mattered. It wasn’t necessary for there to be ten thousand potential buyers for a Lime Green S5 out there. I only needed one. And to that single buyer, the desirability of having an S5 in something besides a non-color made it worth his time to pay significant additional money for it. He wasn’t even comparing the asking price of my car to the asking price of black S5s on dealer lots; he was comparing the asking price of my car to the asking price of having a new custom-color Audi built. Which made my car a bargain even at a price that exceeded the average.

With that example in mind, let’s talk about the resale value on cars with manual transmissions. Obviously, we’re discussing cars where there are multiple transmission choices, not the Viper or the Fiesta SFE. If you try to trade in a stick-shift car at the dealer, that dealer will tell you that they don’t want it, and he’ll point to the auction numbers. Yet if you sell it privately, you’ll get better offers for more money than you would with the same car as an automatic. What gives?

It’s important to remember that dealers and auto auctions — and every other entity involved with the sale of automobiles except private owners — depend on a fast turnover of inventory. Given a choice between selling 100 cars a year at a $5000 profit and selling 1000 cars a year at a $500 profit, a dealer will choose the latter every time. Volume is king and it always will be and there are no exceptions. Not even with the exotics. Turn and burn, that’s how it’s done.

The vast majority of buyers for new and used cars want an automatic transmission and will accept no other choice. Nine of the ten people who step on a lot, even if it’s a Ferrari lot, want the car to shift for them. Therefore, if you want to sell a car in a hurry you want the automatic. Even if the manual would sell for more money, it’s not worth holding the car in inventory longer to make more money on it. Dealers have a fixed amount of “floorplan” they can use and they want to use it on inventory that turns quickly, not high-profit-potential showroom Stegosaurs. A Honda dealer can sell ten automatic Accords in the time it takes to sell a manual-transmission one, so when it’s time for them to buy Accords — whether new, from Honda, or used, from an auction — they will buy automatics exclusively.

Since dealers are ninety-nine percent of the customer base at an auction, dealer preferences dictate what sells for good money. Fast-turning automobiles in high demand sell for good money, period point blank. No dealer wants to take a risk on an odd color or an unusual equipment group (think: Sebring convertibles with the expensive folding hardtop, stripped-out Explorer XL trims from the Nineties, loaded short-wheelbase S-Classes) or manual transmissions. They’d rather buy what sells easily and go home. Therefore, auction prices reflect dealer desires, not customer desires.

This disconnect between dealer and customer desires punishes the customer at every turn. It’s why Honda and Acura make you take a non-color with a stick-shift Accord or TSX: the dealers don’t want to stock a brown Accord V6 six-speed even if there’s a guy (YO!) willing to buy it. It’s why you see interesting combinations of colors and options in the order brochure but never at the dealers. It’s why the flotilla of individual options that marked the Detroit era of new cars has become a maze of packages and mandatory tie-ins, even when the car in question is manufactured in the same state as the selling dealers.

The dealers want the stuff that turns quickly. That means silver Camrys and red Ferraris and automatic convertible Corvettes and all-wheel-drive S-Classes. Your desires have nothing to do with it. They aren’t listening to you. They don’t care. While you’re busy displaying your autism spectrum disorder by lecturing the salesman about the actual cam lobe profile on a car you’re thinking about buying two jobs from now and for which you expect to pay invoice minus holdback, three families in used SUVs have come in and bought new SUVs and the store has grossed them front, back, used, and F&I. You mean nothing to a dealer. Period.

Eppur si muove, however. There are people out there who want a manual transmission and they really want it. They aren’t casual or uncaring buyers like the SUV families. What they want, they want. And you only need one of them to buy your used manual-transmission car. Best of all, the manufacturers are working night and day to make your stick-shifter a rare and desirable item. Even in this degraded era, this dark age, there are still drivers who want to shift for themselves. There is no surplus of cars for them. A friend of mine drove 2,150 miles this past weekend to get the Dodge truck he wanted. Drove all the way to Miami. Because there were two trucks that met his spec in the whole country, and Miami was closest. No prize for guessing that he wanted a manual.

When I bought my Accord, there were two Modern Steel V6 manuals available in the whole country. When I go to sell it, there won’t even be that many on the market. If you want it, then you’ll have to understand that you’re buying something that’s about as common as a Mickey Mantle card in an old Topps set. So take my advice: Call early. Bring cash. And leave your Manheim printouts at home.

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214 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Stick it to ’em....”


  • avatar

    Absolutely. If your car has rare options that enthusiasts would want, you can convert what would be a lousy trade-in deal (but aren’t they all?) into a lucrative private sell. That’s after you filter through all of the Craigslist bozos who’d never purchase it in the first place. I wouldn’t *buy* a car on any resale basis—I’d buy what I really wanted—but I’d sure remember that fact when it came time to sell…

    And Tiger Eye Pearl is beautiful. That’s my favorite color on the Accord Coupe as well, by far.

    • 0 avatar
      1998redwagon

      article puts manual resales into perspective. you only need 1, whether it’s a buyer, a seller, a gf, etc. well we would all like 2 or more but i digress.

      btw what interior is that with the 4wd shifter just ahead of the transmission?

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Considering the article is talking about the asymmetry of pairing a buyer with a seller, Craigslist would be the absolutely worse place to place an ad. Something like Autotrader makes more sense, where you can customize your search criteria.

      Also, Jack’s thesis only works for features that are highly desired by a niche. Niches (a.k.a. Subcultures) have a couple of unfortunate qualities. 1) They are HIGHLY divisive and self-segregated, so good luck getting a pre-1991 Volvo manual diesel brown station wagon enthusiast to look at a post-1991 Volvo manual diesel brown station wagon. 2) It’s been my experience that they can be very price sensitive. So maybe that 1993 Urusei Yatsura Lum calendar showed up on eBay for $10. That’s too much, the 3 people in the country who want it will hold out until it drops to $7.50.

      Ideally, just buy what you want, and if you can find a buyer for your cast-off, so much the better.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “The monochromization of the Fatherland’s automobiles didn’t start in earnest until it became possible to lease them cheaply and all the newbies wanted a silver BMW with the lowest possible payment”

    The lowest possible payment is flat-black, flat-red or flat-white. Metallic paints like silver (which is free on luxobarges like the Nissan Micra) costs extra on a BMW, Mercedes or (haven’t looked in a while) Audi.

    Signed,
    – Owner of a flat-black 325i, which I intend to re-paint something more interesting once I get it running properly.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      That may be true now, as those colors have become desirable, but back in the 1980s, the silvers and grey were non-metallic and certainly did not add to the price of new vehicles.

      Just more the cash-grabbing on options that das Deutsche Drei have embraced so fully over the last two decades or so.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Silver was always extra cost, as were all the metallic colors, same as now. About the same $500 up charge too.

        My favorite story is how Bob Sinlair, president of Saab NA in the glory days noticed that black was the most popular color for them. It then became “special black”, and got a $500 up charge just like the metallics. Only thing special was the extra $500 profit on the sale.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    So true.

    When I bought my Nissan Frontier there was something like 104 available in the area and exactly 2 (two) wth a manual. Made the shopping easier.

    The one I bought had been on the lot for five months, since trade.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Once a week I scan through the Car Max site for fun, usually looking for a unicorn of some kind (manual wagons, etc).

      Consistently, they’ll have something like 22,000 cars in inventory across the country; 1200 of those are manual, and most of those are a/b-segment blandoboxes (Cruze, Focus, etc). Filtering to non-econo models leaves about 400 cars (of less than 2% of their total) of any interest to the even remotely-enthusiast buyer.

      Craigslist, however, usually has a good selection in my area. However, most of the folks selling manuals seem to understand JB’s hypothesis on only needing to find one guy desperate for that sweet, sweet manual shift, and have thus priced their 10-20 year old Escorts and S-10s accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      What may be perhaps the pickup truck equivalent of the “brown manual diesel etc.”–a second-gen Frontier manual, 4×4, crew cab with 6′ bed, in any color. AFAIK, they were only ever made for a few years too.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      Buddy of mine has a Frontier with 3 pedals. Most practical truck I’ve ever borrowed. Always point out to our other truck owners that his is the real deal. Engine may be smaller than the 250s, but he’s got 3 pedals…

      Bought a 2010 GTI, had to fly to NJ to find one with a manual. Talked to the salesman late Friday afternoon, booked my flight, and between the time we spoke any my arrival on his lot Saturday morning, two other dealers had called inquiring whether they could take it off their hands. Plan on driving it until it’s last check engine light, but fairly certain if I wanted to sell it, I would have no problems finding a buyer.

    • 0 avatar

      This isn’t new. When I bought a Mercury Mystique, because it fit the budget, had a six, and a manual, there were three in the whole NY/NJ/CT metro area. One salesman didn’t even bother to order the car before he went on vacation. It was clear my desire for this car (meaning we have to trade) wasn’t a priority.

      The car that replaced it was ordered in a custom color, cloth interior, and manual with no sunroof. I waited for it.

      “BMW Financial Auction Friendly equipment groups” I love it.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Not quite two years ago, we were looking for a Ford Focus SE with the 5-speed manual transmission. Calls to all the dealers in our area revealed that only one kept any manual transmission cars in stock. We bought from that dealer without trying to beat them down on price. When the other dealers called back, I told them that failing to keep manuals in stock cost them the sale. As Jack says, the prospect of losing a sale now and then isn’t going to change their stocking preferences. However, it can’t hurt to apply whatever pressure I can.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    While not wanting to lose the point of the story (which I will agree with), but…

    “Given a choice between selling 100 cars a year at a $5000 profit and selling 1000 cars a year at a $500 profit, a dealer will choose the latter every time. Volume is king and it always will be and there are no exceptions. Not even with the exotics. Turn and burn, that’s how it’s done.”

    Not sure I can agree with the above logic. While it is certainly true that a businessman will always want a diverse customer base (so that he can more easily blow off the problem customers), he also craves simplicity. A 100 cars with a $5,000 profit would always trump 10 times the number of deals with 1/10th the profit in each.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This article was a good opportunity to gain additional insight from oh… someone around here who works in the used car industry. Like Steve Lang.

      Or maybe he’s not around here no more.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      The manufacturers structure dealer bonuses based on volume. And the manufacturer doesn’t care how much the dealer profit is, and would much, much prefer you sell 1000 cars.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Car bidness is different than most. Most smart dealers will take the high volume model over the low volume high profit.

      Why?

      1. Your best used cars come from new car trade ins.
      2. Trade ins keep the shop busy
      3. Fresh trades sell the ussually sell quickly thus continuing the rinse and repeat.
      4. Best time for a car salesman to sell a car? Right after they just sold one. Volume begets volume.

      The low volume huge profit model works for the Ferrari Bentley Maserati dealer.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        At the retail level, more volume means more customers which means more chances to make the gravy on service contracts, undercoating, VIN etching and all that crap. More sales usually equates to more volume for the service department as well. As already mentioned, most manufacturers base bonuses on volume too.

        Dealers nowadays usually make more money on the back end than the front end, so it’s in their interest to capture as many customers as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “A 100 cars with a $5,000 profit would always trump 10 times the number of deals with 1/10th the profit in each.”

      In the real world, the lower profit deal takes less work.

      And in new car sales, the ability to move more volume results in more and better allocations from the OEM, which provides the basis for more profits.

      On an individual level, the dealer will try to take each customer for whatever he or she is worth. The key to good negotiation with that kind of purchase is to get the seller to believe that you are a serious enough customer to do business with, but that continuing to haggle with you won’t produce any more revenue. They need to take their best shot, then see for themselves that it’s time for them to give up.

    • 0 avatar

      Jack is correct. This model has gained massive traction lately, especially with the studies conducted by Dale Pollak at vAuto. It’s called “Velocity selling.” Some dealers still cling to the four thousand dollar fantasy on used cars (BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL UNICORNS, but no franchise store is operating its new car business in any other fashion.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    MAYBE you got more money because you’re an Internets Celebrity who greatly publicized his special-colored Audi (and sold to to a JB fan) for all the time you had it?

    • 0 avatar

      Corey, I see your point, and for an Audi geared at enthusiasts tht may have been a fctor. However, different colors will alwys net buyers. All you need is one. I for example like the special light blue Renault puts on their cars. Everytime I try to buy one, they’re rare, as soon as I call or go see it, it’s gone. People call the color poison, but from what I see, no problem. Of course, the more interesting the car, the wider the color pallette. Kind of hard imagining there is someone looking for a yellow Camry, but there must be at lest one who’d like that color and stand out in the sea of beige and silver.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It probably helped that it had great exposure on forums that were basically blasting the color choice. People love to be contrary to the mainstream, so those hate threads created exposure.

      I remember when the MKV GTI came out, there was a huge thread on Nasioc about how terrible it was from the typical idiots there. The numbers they were quoting seemed impossible, so I did my own research, and sure enough, a 6MT GTI was ~3100lbs instead of the ~3400lbs that was being flung around. I didn’t care for the look of the just-released MKV Jetta and even commented on how bad it looked at an autoshow the previous winter. The more I looked at the GTI, the more I liked it. I was 100% certain that when I had my full time job, I would buy a WRX or Legacy GT. Eventually, I ended up buying the GTI… and the seeds were planted by that ‘here for the [email protected]’ hate thread. I didn’t care for the MKIV GTI at all, but I ended up in an MKV GTI despite being a life long Suby fan and finally being able to afford a WRX.

  • avatar

    I like the custom nav in that Discovery. Is this your own old car, Jack?

    If so, man that’s the worst interior color combo. :P

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Say anything you want about old GM, but you can’t deny the appeal of ordering a 1989 Beretta by flipping through a big brochure and circling what you want with a magic marker.

    My dad did that with my big sister, and it remains one of the highlights of her teenage years. They had a special night out, and sat at the dealer while she spec’d out the car of her dreams.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    For 2015, you can get the V6MT Accord coupe in White now. I was floored to see that! If Honda actually ADDED a color, sales must still be good. I want one so, so bad! :(

    Given a choice I’d rather blue be available, but my 2011 was white, and I could definitely rock that again.

  • avatar
    Blue-S

    In the case of the Audi, the sale price was helped by the fact that it was a privately owned car which was (no doubt) maintained in impeccable shape. That would be in contrast to your average 2-year-old lease return Audi which was abused and neglected by a status-seeking douchebag. The color was a big deal, too. As the former owner of a nitro yellow-green neon ACR coupe, I can relate.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “In the case of the Audi, the sale price was helped by the fact that it was a privately owned car which was (no doubt) maintained in impeccable shape. That would be in contrast to your average 2-year-old lease return Audi which was abused and neglected by a status-seeking douchebag.”

      Wait, I thought Baruth had the privately owned car, not the lease return???

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It completely depends on the car. Like Steve L said all the time, manual transmissions in non-sporty cars are resale poison. I’ll lump trucks in with the sporty cars because there’s a large group of enthusiasts there that want to feel like they’re driving a big-rig.

    There might be that one cheapskate a$$hole in your town who wants your 5 speed Focus wagon, but no one else does. So he has the power to push you around on price, unless you really want to wait another month until the next cheapskate a$$hole comes around with $100 more. But by then the brakes are rusting, tires flat spotting, it’s taking up space. You want it gone and let the cheapskate a$$hole have it.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      “manual transmissions in non-sporty cars are resale poison…you want it gone and let the cheapskate a$$hole have it.”

      Me exactly when I bought my used 2006 Scion Xb. The manual Xb I bought had been taken in on trade and had sat for months on the Toyota dealer’s lot. It wasn’t even what I was looking for. The manager gave me some ridiculous quote to which I responded that the market for a square car with a manual transmission (and two-tone paint job) was very, very small, maybe just me. Deal was done very quickly at a great price after that. For a lime green S5 the lot might have held out for the whale, but not for the Xb.

      • 0 avatar
        ZT

        We recently got a PERFECT low-mileage (78K for a 2005) Honda Element EX with a 5-speed that’d been taken in on trade. I called the dealership to ask about it and they said, yup, it’s here and been here for a while. I said, “great, I’ll come in on Saturday to look at it.”

        Got a phone call a few minutes later from the sales dude who said, “Uhhh, just wanted to make sure you knew that this Element is a stick shift,” and I responded, “that’s exactly the reason why I’m coming in to look at the car.”

        Love the damn thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          Dude, the proper response to that is “If you’re willing to work with me on the price I guess I can take a look at it.”

          But I get it, I’ve put 100K on an 07 Element 5-speed, looking forward to the next 100K. Oh, and it’s green!

          • 0 avatar
            ZT

            I love the green Elements –– ours is black, which is fine.

            I let my wife handle the actual negotiations. I’m the “good cop” when it comes to auto buying, all enthusiasm and smiles. My wife is “bad cop” –– a real tough negotiator.

            I get the sales man all excited about a tip-over of a sale and then I let her take over. If things get sticky, she’ll grab my hand and say, “Let’s go. We’re not buying this car at this price” and lead me out the door.

            We got a good deal on the Element, by the way. Took a long look and drive and sat down to negotiate on price. Got up twice. Drove home in the car for a fair price for both parties.

          • 0 avatar
            Russycle

            ZT, well played, and congrats to bad cop!

          • 0 avatar

            Yep Russyvle and ZT, lways pays to stand up and march to the door. Have done it a couple of times, never failed to be convinved to sit down again. Guess it works when you show them you have a firm intention of buying. And a backup plan! Either same car at nother deler or just another car. Helps with the resolve.

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          When I bought my manual transmission 2006 Element EX-P right off the showroom floor, they offered me a price below invoice without me even asking — they wanted it gone. I was out of the dealership with a new car in 58 minutes, an all-time record for me.

          It’s Atomic Blue Metallic and is still going strong with 120,000 miles on it. I also had another 2006 Element EX-P, but automatic and Kiwi Green. Gotta love that color and when I sold it four months ago, I was amazed at how much enthusiasm there was for the color and how much an eight-year-old car was still worth.

          When I sell the blue one, I hope Jack’s prediction of there being a buyer out there for it is true. I’m not so sure about that — the potential market for people in the US who even know how to drive a manual transmission car is shrinking every day. But it just takes one, yes?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I have to agree with that. I would buy an Audi or BMW with a stick with no hesitation (in fact, I did just that) because there will always be that one guy who really wants it.

      I would not buy a Honda CR-V with that same expectation. (I don’t even know if it’s possible to get a CR-V with a stick, but I can’t imagine very many would-be crossover buyers in the US demanding such a thing.)

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I know a guy who had a stick shift CR-V, a 2002 maybe 2003? He was definitely square in that demographic of one. You could probably guess what he drives now…a Toffee Brown 2011 Jetta TDI wagon with a manual transmission.

        • 0 avatar
          18726543

          I drive a manual CR-V. I believe the option was only available in the first generation (97-01). I was delighted to find my ’01, not only with low mileage, but also in a color! (Milano Red…or Milano Pink as any owner of a Milano Red Honda can confirm)

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You’re probably right, I was guessing on the year. His was a first gen, in fact you could be him if your name is Matt.

          • 0 avatar
            18726543

            1) Actually my name is Matt and you seriously just broke my brain for a second there until I remembered that

            2) I don’t currently drive a TDI VW

            You know what? I just broke my brain again remembering that I bought my CR-V from a Subaru/VW dealer. Did this guy you know happen to trade his in around the Waldorf Maryland area?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Haha, I’ll have to ask him. I guess the demograhpic for these types of vehicles really is that specific afterall.

          • 0 avatar
            18726543

            If I need to wait for a buyer interested in a manual CR-V and ALSO named Matt when I unload this thing, then I think it’s more likely we’ll be viewing pictures of it on here as a Junkyard Find.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            I can confirm the CR-V could be had with 3 pedals through the 2nd generation (what, ’02-’06?), as every now and then, I’ll see one come through for work.

          • 0 avatar
            LeeK

            I have a 1999 Generation 1 CR-V with manual transmission that is still on the road with 160k and the original clutch. I had to order it from Japan and waited three months for it to arrive. The Generation 2 was offered with a manual though they are exceptionally rare. Gen 3 and the current Gen 4 (in the US, that is) are automatic only.

          • 0 avatar
            Madroc

            “Milano Pink”:

            YES!! My Acura was the same color. I’m ashamed to admit, the pinkening was a nontrivial motivation in buying a new car.

      • 0 avatar
        olydoug

        Audi’s and BMW’s usually have a buyer who want’s the stick shift but Honda gave up on stick shift CRV’s before 2006 because only a small % of buyers were interested. For the UK market at least you can buy a new CRV with a manual (built in the UK For that market) but here if a compact suv even offers a stick shift it’s on the basic trim and the dealer may only keep 1-2 on the lot. It’s the same story when a friend of mine wanted a new Nissan Sentra and the dealer told him they’d order one if he wanted but 90+% of their customers buy the Automatic so that’s what they put on the lot. Of course my friend prefers to buy used so he gets whatever stick shift compact he can find. Currently a 1st Gen Mazda3 sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          Hehe, we still get the manual CRV’s here in Norway, on any of the engine choices (actually I believe the 1.6 diesel is only available as a manaul fwd car) Sadly my 2007 is an automatic, but it is kinda pleasant most of the time, except when going from 2nd to 3rd gear as the distance between them kills any accelleration…
          2nd gen CRV’s with a manual seems to be a very easy car to sell btw.
          PS,with most of the Hondas I’ve owned, the manual is a joy to use, so I can’t understand why automatics are preferred in Hondas, unlike in Mercedes or pedestrian US cars.

          • 0 avatar
            18726543

            CR-V diesel with a manual?! That sounds fantastic! I can report, however, that the manual in the CR-V isn’t really anything to write home about. It’s closer to a bowl of pudding than an NSX box…understandably. People looking to the Gen 1 and 2 CR-Vs for sporting purposes will find disappointment in more than the feel of the shifter.

          • 0 avatar
            Zykotec

            I actually thought my 2nd gen CRV was pretty sporty considering it’s class of cars (lowering springs and yellow konis did help). And the shifter was still not as bad as many other non-Hondas. I did try a ’07 Diesel with a stick before buying mine, but the shifter on that dash in combination with the relatively narrow power band of the diesel made it a bit of a chore to drive ,even if the shifter itself was brilliant, (just a bit too far away) It was like flicking a switch more or less.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’ve found a surprising number of stick-shift trucks thumbing through classifieds, especially Dodges with the Cummins. Of course, now you get less power and torque if you go manual…

  • avatar
    redav

    “if you sell it privately, you’ll get better offers for more money than you would with the same car as an automatic. What gives?”

    Nothing gives. I actually don’t believe you will get better offers because one car being bought/sold skews perception. As has often been said, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” I trust the real data, not your experience.

    I also don’t believe people expect German cars to be non-colors. They certainly haven’t been non-colors at the local car shows, and they are not more non-colored than other cars on the road (white-gray/silver-black) is by far the most popular for EVERYTHING.

    The issue of volume isn’t the real factor. If you sell the manual for more, it’s because you insist on getting more, and you simply dismiss offers that are not more. In other words, you wait for some manual-loving schmuck to pay more (you could have also waited for an auto-loving schmuck to pay more, but why do that?) and then declare the manual was worth more. The other flaw is the fact that when dealers *do* get those unique combinations, they don’t sell–ever–at the regular price. They discount them, and then STILL wait for it to sell.

    The last point is correct but is not pointed enough: People who want a manual (or whatever specific feature) want a manual (or whatever specific feature), *and will therefore be stupid* to get it, whether that means driving halfway across the country or letting their wallet get raped by someone who is willing to wait forever and a day to be propositioned by that one guy in the whole country (or course that’s an exaggeration–there’s probably a whole dozen, but not at the same time) who’s willing to drive halfway across the country to let his wallet get raped. I suspect you can do the same thing with an automatic (or any other feature), if you just simply wait for your special schmuck.

    And BTW, “gray.” If you use US spellings for “color” and everything else, be consistent.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Pretty much this. Time is money, most people don’t want to wait around for that one buyer with a fixation to show up. Even private buyers want to move the metal eventually and dropping the price makes the car go away faster.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      It’s not just German cars. Pretty much anyone who’s looking for something used expects (is resigned?) the color choice to be black/white/silver/grey.

      This was a big holdup for me in my recent minivan purchase. Given I was going to be looking at a V-6/automatic combination, the one place I was an absolute holdout was none of the above four colors were allowed. Which added about six weeks to my finding my current burgundy one.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Kudos for holding out. I’ve been looking at MVs, and yeah, at least give me color. Darn hard to find.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        I’ve seen them called “casket colors ”

        I’m waiting for two -tone to return. (Seriously)

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          I’ve turned down some great deals over the years, solely due to color and/or interior colors or combos. The local dealer tried for months to sell me a crap brown metallic Durango, each message I got was a cheaper price. I always wondered who finally bought it, and how much they paid for it.

          A two tone comeback would be a nightmare, IMO. I think back at the two toned cars I had (I count vinyl tops as two toned) and I just think how much better they would have looked without them. My dad had an Olds of some kind when I was a really little kid, white over green and looking at pics of it makes me laugh, and gives me douchechills thinking about being seen in it. He seemed to pick a bad color every other car. My mom wasn’t a two tone lover, but her choices of colors during her driving years (Baby blue, “Misty” blue, gawd awful chromate green) didn’t give her much credence when she would call a car color ugly. Personally, I don’t like muted colors on cars, and I want nothing to do with brown, green, white, “misty” blue, and just weak colors period. Red is my favorite, the brighter the better, along with yellow, bright blue (C’mon Dodge, make a Challenger in Petty Blue!) and orange. Black is tolerable, but way down on my list. And with any exterior color, I want a black, no two toned, interior. No tan/Camel. Once was enough for me, the entire time I had the car, I hated that camel interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You missed the moral of the story: It is possible for one to benefit from a niche, but those who rely on volume can’t be bothered.

      Mr. Baruth is right about that. An individual can take advantage of having a unique item that serves a very specialized need, if the niche is large enough to find that one guy who will pay for it. Just don’t try making a business out of it, as there isn’t enough volume to carry someone who has to do it for a living.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    I little off topic but to the general point: Last week I put 1500 miles on a Fusion SE rental in about 5.5 days. I absolutely loved the car (with the exception of the hard to modulate breaks which I found irritating). 2.0T Eco-boost with leather, roof, and sync. Exactly how i would spec the car.

    For s&g’s I hopped on to ford.com to price one out. Sadness of sads the Fusion is no longer offered with a manual…. in any color.

    • 0 avatar

      Look around on dealer site for inventory. There are a lot of 2014 SE’s with Sport Package and 6 speed around Houston. I was looking as I just bought a new car and had a pretty good deal worked out on one but ended up buying a Mazda 6 Touring with the manual instead.
      There are still some in dealer inventories that they would be happy to dump.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The 2.0T was never given a manual transmission. You would have had to buy one with the 1.6T.

      A Fusion ST needs to happen. Just imagine a Fusion with the Focus ST wheels, a blacked out mesh grille, the 2.3T from the Mustang (or 2.7T), AWD, and a manual transmission! I will take one in the most bat$hit insane color available.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Focus ST orange? That works.

        Except I’d want to go completely off the deep end and get huge black ST decals reminiscent of the Lamborghini Diablo SV.

        Only Lambo I’ve ever seen that really rocks the yellow, despite how popular yellow Murciealagos seem to have been.

        • 0 avatar

          Orange always works. No matter what car.

          I confess though, I could do without the decals.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I like the Tangerine Scream orange/yellow on the Focus ST and the Green Envy on the Fiesta ST. I think the deeper Molton Orange from the Fiesta ST may work better on the Fusion.

          I also really like the color called Guard on the Mustang. It’s a deep green.

          • 0 avatar

            Some blues, too, not purple, blues. Ford always did very nice blues, then they stopped.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They have a blue on the Focus/Fiesta/C-Max called Blue Candy. It is a medium blue that I really like. The standard dark blue (deep impact blue) they put on everything right now doesn’t really do it for me. My C-Max is a green/blue color called Ice Storm. It fits the C-Max, but looks horrible on bigger cars and sedans.

          • 0 avatar

            Here, Ford has given up on blue. I sae the Fiesta at launch wearing a light blue that I may or not have liked in person, but I’ve never seen one in the flesh. Here, pretty much limited to blck, silver, white, grey, red. I have hope though, Fiat has always offered yellows nd different tones of red (and bordeaux, too) and yellows and greens. With the launch of the re-styled Uno there was even an ornnge! Makes me want to get one just to get an orange car. VW too has some yellos now for the up, but o blues or green. And the recent Ford Ka only seen in white nd black on the street, no blues.

            Sigh.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That is sad. I personally think we need more colors. I would have ordered an Orange C-Max if it was possible.

            On another note, I like your avatar. Being a dad is the best thing ever.

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, driving his Ferrari. He’s so big now he barely fits (was one and a half then, three now), but he still loves his cars and is able to identify many. Loves his buses and trucks, too. Love him just too much.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Ford ditched that super bright “neon cotton candy” blue on the Mustang? I sure hope not…

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            It’s not on the build and price website. Maybe they’ll add more colors.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        We’ve talked about this before… I’d be amongst the first in line for a Fusion ST. 2.7 AWD and the same 6spd from the FoST. Epic.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Only one manual in the family fleet out of 4 vehicles and it belongs to my wife. She did the 100,000 mile comprehensive service recently and fell back in love again with the car.

    She had to special order it new to get her hands on a 2005 Vibe with manual trans. The dealer asked her 5 to 10 times during the sales process: “Are you SURE you want a MANUAL?????”

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “When I bought my Accord, there were two Modern Steel V6 manuals available in the whole country”

    Found the other one!

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I hope that Jack is right and that Steve Lang is incorrect, as I have a stick on my Sonata. Very hard to find. The dealer wasn’t even sure of the specs on it as he had never seen or discussed one before.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      That was my experience. More than one GM salesman told me that what I wanted “didn’t exist.”

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        Same here, but with a Honda dealer. HONDA!

        I kept calling around about 5-speed Fits back in 2009, and this one dealer insisted he had one. After driving to the next state with credit union approval letter (i.e. blank check) in hand, he showed us an automatic model. His response after I laid into him for wasting my time? “Oh, I thought you were joking. I’m pretty sure they don’t even make those. Haha…”

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Something like that, you want to look at all the online pics of the car to make sure it’s what the dealer/internet sales manager/n00b stuck doing the grunt office work/ thinks it is.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            This is also a very annoying problem as a modern car shopper. I often filter my car searches to “manual only” and 8 out of the 10 results will be automatics with a shift gate.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            “Sure it’s a manual! See the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel there?”

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @dave and bumpy ii: that is a personal pet peeve of mine. Many salesmen/dealers make me want to do them grievous bodily harm with their stupidity.

            If I was as ignorant of shoes (when I was a shoe salesman) as they are of cars, I would have starved to death.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            “Oh you wanted a manual? Well this car is really both…”

            The situation is even worse with many manufacturers making their automatics look like manuals. At least it can be tough to tell in a crappy cell phone pic. You almost have to see the pedal setup to know for sure.

        • 0 avatar

          What an ass…

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Happened at a Honda dealer after inquiring about a 6MT Accord Sport. Sales guy insisted they didn’t come with a manual. Finally checked the website (and the lot) and yes, they had one. And not to leave Honda alone and unaccompanied under the bus, the same happened at a Buick dealer concerning a Regal GS.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        That’s weird, Accord Sports with a manual transmission are common, there are something like 40 of them available within 100 miles of here.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          I just ran a search on Auto Trader for new 2014 Accord Sport, 6MT, within 100 miles of me. Got 13 results. Of the 13, 10 had no pictures. Of the remaining three, each had 1 stock photo of the exterior.

          It’s not uncommon for Auto Trader listings to say manual when the picture clearly shows an automatic. I wonder if all thirteen we’re actually row your own.

          I ran additional search for automatic equipped cars…215 results.

    • 0 avatar
      TheyBeRollin

      This is not surprising. My car is a similar unicorn. People are baffled by it. I’m in that awful economy car with a manual segment, which is why I got it cheap, but also why I’ll probably give it to my parents because it will be impossible to sell.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    OK B&B, lets have your opinions.

    In April 2018, how easy will the 6MT Verano be to sell?

  • avatar
    formulamesh84

    Does this mean my base model 4 cylinder Colorado with the 5 speed will be worth more when I go to sell it? I can’t imagine anyone will be banging down my door to stuff cash into my hands for a vehicle whose only options were a/c and cruise..

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, somebody looking for a “people-sized real truck” will want it. They will also be likely to chisel you for pennies, though, so be firm: “If you can find another one for less, you should go buy that one.”

  • avatar
    sirwired

    When I bought my ’04 VW Passat 1.8T M/T Wagon, the dealer and I picked one out of Distributor Inventory. (VW doesn’t do factory orders in the US.)

    He called me the next day with “Great News! The port canceled your order!” “Why is this great news?” “Because we already had one exactly like it on the storage lot!”

    The poor thing had been sitting there for four months; still had the factory wrap on it. I have no idea if they could have sold it if only they remembered having it, or if they do really sell that poorly.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    This is an interesting discussion. I always suspected (and had this argument when I worked for an OEM) that there was indeed a larger consumer market in the U.S. for manual transmissions than than they perceived. However, there is a limited dealer market for them. Unfortunately, OEMs sell cars to franchised dealers, not directly to consumers, so the argument doesn’t make it very far.

    I had similar experiences as you selling my own cars. I had a 2001 BMW 525iT (wagon) with a manual trans. I loved that car. I bought it from the original owner when it was two years and 25k miles old. He had custom ordered the car because no dealer had a manual trans in stock.

    I had been looking for one for a while but every dealer basically told me I was looking for a unicorn. Turns out that they weren’t that hard to find on eBay… just that no dealer would ever stock one.

    When I sold it a few years later I had a ton of action from my online listings and easily sold it in only a few days for essentially what I had paid for it.

    My wife and I later bought a Mazda5 and she insisted that we find one with a stick. We found only two new ones in the entirety of Northern California and they were both silver. When I sold it a few years later I was bombarded with calls (by this point, Mazda no longer offered the stick shift in anything above the base trim, making my Touring trim model even rarer).

    • 0 avatar

      Just another argument for abolishing the dealer system.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I love manuals, but to every anecdote there’s an opposing one. In December 2003, I nearly bought a new brown 525iT stick myself (nice choice, by the way). It was the last new E39 on the lot, and they were very willing to deal to get rid of it. I passed, but it was still there a few weeks later.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Thing is, someone in the market for a manual transmission bmw wagon is the very definition of picky. That person is going to order a car exactly the way they want it, even if it costs more. And that is exactly what I did in the case of my BMW wagon.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I really liked spec’ing a car exactly how I wanted it. I can’t see myself not doing it again, unless I happened to stumbled upon the EXACT car I wanted on a lot when I was ready to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Same here. Only reason I did not order my Abarth is they had the one I wanted sitting on the lot at my local dealership. Of course, this is easier when the car in question only comes in four colors and four option packages.

            Next year I will be ordering a 2-series BMW. I am going nuts with the configurator playing with color combos and options. Do I go cheap stripper again, or hog wild? If I go hog wild, a stripper Cayman is only $7K more (though no Euro Delivery discount on that, so really $10K)… Decisions.

            Annoyingly, the manual is now a “no cost” option. I saved $1200 by getting the manual on my 328! wagon.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            If I’m ordering a BMW anything I’m probably going to custom order it.

            After all, what are the chances I’d go to a dealership and find a blue 535d on the lot? Seems awful low to me.

  • avatar
    George B

    A friend sold a 2007 Acura TL Type S manual for several thousand dollars more than the automatic version. The problem is that she had to be patient and wait a couple months for the right buyer to find her car.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think I could have waited for the right buyer with my unmolested and relatively low mileage 8.5/10 condition GS430. But I was selling it in late fall, and I needed the garage space empty and the money in my hand!

      But I did drive it for 3 years, and only lost $700 from what I paid.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    Try selling an automatic MX-5. Certain cars are exceptions.

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      I’m hoping the ’05 Scion xB I’m about to sell follows the same exception.

    • 0 avatar
      Prado

      I sold my automatic NC 2006 Miata last year. It took 3 days. The NC, with the the 6AT, is still a quick fun car. I don’t think I would touch an NA or NB with an auto.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      Sadly that’s changing. It’s depressing how many of the PRHT Miatas on dealer lots are automatics. Also depressing how few color choices there are now. I experienced this when I bought my ’12. Local dealer had to trade with one in another state to get the manual in the colors (blue ext, tan int) what I wanted. Then when it got there they all seemed surprised at how good that color combo looks.

  • avatar
    cartime

    The auctions aren’t about high volume. They may have been at one time, but since 2008 they have total control over the used market. I’ve been to auctions and they very often won’t let cars go unless they $100-$200 more. It used to be a dealer could add a couple grand after buying at an auction. Now it’s down to the hundreds. Margins are extremely low and it’s largely because the one auction company here has a monopoly and is keeping used prices artificially high.

    Eventually prices should drop dramatically but we’ve been waiting years for that to happen now and I can’t see it as long as interest rates stay low.

  • avatar
    another_pleb

    When it comes to colour, why not just get the car wrapped? When you sell it, you can keep it in your chosen colour or peel it off to reveal the safe, boring grey underneath.

    Or failing that, buy what you want and keep it till the wheels fall off, then you don’t need to worry about depreciation. If you take any car to the dealer’s to be appraised, they’ll suck their teeth and tell you that there is very little demand for whatever spec you happen to have.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Jack, I want to meet this future kid that wants a manual, but is more interested in an Accord coupe than a 3.7 or even 5.0 Mustang.

    Your green Audi will be getting big money for years to come. Not just the awesome green paint but close to the last of the V8s. That was a mistake despite abysmal VAG quality.

    I somewhat agree with your premise, and want to believe in it as a stick fan. But at the same time I want to be able to dump my car at CarMax for reasonable money instead of the hassle of private party, so I’m part of the problem.

  • avatar
    Syke

    This was something I learned as a young child. Since my father was a Chevrolet dealer (1950-1965) he got himself a new car every year. Sounds like heaven? Dream on.

    Every year, he ordered himself the same car: 1955 (the earliest one I can remember) it was a BelAir 2-door hardtop, 265, Powerglide. 1956 it was the 4-door hardtop, otherwise identical. 1957 was back to the 2-door, ditto.

    1958 was a silver blue 2-door Impala, 283, Powerglide. ’59? The same, different color, I think he went with the 348 and Turboglide. That combination never returned, he was less than thrilled with it.

    In 1960 he broke the mold. To keep his car crazy son happy, he went with an Impala Convertible, 283 (I think), Powerglide. And the top went down twice that year, both times to my mother bitching incessantly about how her hair was being mussed on the weekly Sunday drive. Even I (at the ripe old age of 10) knew enough not to suggest that one again.

    1961-65? Impala (61) or Impala SS (62-65) two door hardtop, 327, Powerglide.

    With the exception of the 1960, everything he ordered for himself was ordered with one intention: It would be gone in less that a week from the dealership’s used car lot, once he swapped to the new model. And he didn’t order himself a car the way he wanted it until 1967 when he got the first of two Camaro’s. 327, Powerglide (some things never change), RS package, high end interior package. And screaming red, not the usual blue or silver blue.

    From my childhood, I’ve never had the desire to drive what everybody else on the street is driving. Which explains my love for Citroens, Renaults, Saabs, etc. – even though I’ve yet to own one. The current driveway, while hardly quirky, still keeps a good distance from the usual Camcord.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I assume, from your age, that you have driven the “three-on-the-tree” manual transmissions that were furnished with cars of that era. If you have, you will know why no one but a total cheapskate would prefer that over even Chevrolet’s anemic 2-speed Powerglide. It wasn’t until the “supersport” models were introduced in the mid-1960s that four-speed, floor shift manuals were introduced.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    That special individual buyer will have to pry my stick Civic from my cold dead hands. And it’s just a gray one. Sorry, Jubilee Silver, or something like that.

  • avatar
    kerilrus

    Just bought a 2010 G37S 6MT sedan in smoky quartz with 38k on the odo. Was looking for a clean example for around $20k. There was nothing in the area for under $25k and maybe a total of 30 in the whole country ranging from 2010-2013 with an MT. It was on that dealer’s lot since March. Was trying hard not to act like i wanted that one badly. In the end i got them to replace front pads and rotors and walked out with it for $22.5k. Pretty sure they were as happy as I was.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Only way to buy a rarish stickshift car is to buy it with the intentions of running it into the ground. Don’t forget how much of a nightmare selling cars is, especially to doe eyed enthusiasts with big dreams and small pockets. Then when you try to weed people out, you’re labeled a douchebag for asking that folks come with cash in hand.

    I’m going to drive my Z until it’s not safe for road duty anymore. Just keep swapping (and hopefully turbocharging) engines, and staying on top of maintenance.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    My Mustang Bullitt/GT was only offered with a manual transmission. That spoke to me.

    • 0 avatar
      highrpm

      These were my type of cars, the manual-only ones. I’m thinking back to the original VW GTI and the 80’s Porsche 911s. The DOHC VTEC Acuras. The S2000. The first Miatas. The first M3.

      I owned or driven all of the cars on that list at one point or another. I loved them all, and I bought the ones I did because I wanted to experience driving them.

      A far cry from the automatic, lease-deal, status symbols that most of our iconic cars have become.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I resemble this remark. Surprisingly I’ve only owned manual cars, and my last 2 (S2000 and RSX-S) were of the manual only variety. I’m going automatic for my daily once we get my wife an SUV this winter, but we’ll always have a stick in our stable.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    When I traded in my 2006 TSX, I demanded and got financial-institution Black Book value, which included a $750 deduction for the manual. The car proceeded to sit on the dealer lot for about 4 months, although it didn’t help that they were overpricing it. I bought it CPO and it had been in dealer inventory for almost a year per the Carfax.

    My wife will probably drive her 2010 Outback into the ground, so it’s harder to say, but it will probably make sense to sell private party. It’s Premium (midlevel) trim in a real color with every option *except* the CVT. Amazingly, it was in stock at the only dealer we stopped at; my research during the purchase process would reveal that it was one of three manual Outbacks within about 100 miles of us, and the other two were strippers. If it isn’t too used-up to matter when we finally sell it, it won’t have a lot of competition on the market.

    And as someone else said, at trade-in time the dealer will say whatever they can think of to “neg” your car, even if it’s a silver automatic with all the volume options. Shrug and say “I guess I should try to sell it on my own, then. I’ll be back to look at new cars once I sell this one.” See if they sharpen their pencil a little bit.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The problem is that selling a car individually, particularly a car with some value, is just absolutely painful. You get 20 scammers for every legitimate bite, and even the “legitimate” buyers are often operating on hope rather than actual financial capability to buy. I dread the prospect with my manual G8 GXP, even though I know I can probably get $6000 more for it if I sell it individually than if I trade it in.

    I suppose the way to go is to try first to sell it via the forums, and only advertise on AutoTrader or Cars.com if I can’t get a bite there. Still, a time-consuming and excruciatingly annoying process.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Every time I list a car on Autotrader, I end up selling it because of the CL ad.

    • 0 avatar

      I sold on Craigslist, it was an okay experience.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Plus a car with significant value will take a significant chunk out of your new car sales tax (assuming you’re in a state that has sales tax and lets you net the trade in to lower the tax) which takes a big bite out of your profit.

      Sell a car for $3500 that the dealer wants to give you $750 for? Sure, makes sense, Craigslist it. Try to sell a car for $15k because the dealer wants to give you $12k (plus a $850 sales tax credit)? It’s gonna be painful.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      I’ve had good luck on craigslist, but seen little back from Autotrader ads.

      I listed a 6 year old Honda Pilot with all the options on Autotrader, with 10 pics, at a reasonable price, in a large metro area. I got zero response.

      When you want to sell that GXP, you should probably just pick a controversial post on TTAC and throw it in the comments.

      • 0 avatar
        WaftableTorque

        When I browse Autotrader, I make sure to turn off private listings. Too many of them are scams, and Autotrader makes it hard for you to flag them as such.

        • 0 avatar
          MAGICGTI

          Wow, you really can’t figure out what’s a scam and what’s not? A simple phone call to the seller will tell you all you need to know.

          Bought and sold 20 cars online privately, never hit a scam because you’d have to be an idiot to be fooled.

          • 0 avatar
            WaftableTorque

            Reread what I just wrote. Where did you get the impression that I can’t differentiate between real and fake ads? Oh wait, you’re trying to imply I’m the idiot by showing that you’re one.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      The GXP will sell, and probably easily. A limited edition car (1500?), that sold out as fast as they could get them off the boat? There’s pent-up demand, don’t worry.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yep, there’s definitely a stick-shift tax on the G8 GXP. Your model really has a double tax being a GXP and a stick shift. Whn you go to sell it you’ll have more interest than you can handle, good and bad. Thankfully you’ll be able to find a good buyer relatively quick, preferably out of the forum pool.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I hope you guys are right. My last experience selling a somewhat valuable stickshift car (2004 Acura TSX with 23,000 miles, in 2005) didn’t go well at all. In the end, after dealing with an unending parade of idiots without a single legitimate buyer, I sold it back to the dealer I bought it from, although they gave me a decent price.

        Since then I’ve traded one car in (a worthless piece of junk) and returned another one off lease, so I haven’t tried to sell lately.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I find that CL only works well on cheap cars. I’ve sold 3 sub-$5k cars in the past 6 years and they’ve all moved in under a week, some as quick as 2 days. When I was selling a $10k car, it took me almost 3 months to finally get a buyer who could secure financing.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The word for the problem is “liquidity” of the market. A market with few buyers and sellers is an illiquid market. That doesn’t mean that prices are depressed, but it does mean that sales do not happen quickly.
    For someone in the business of selling something (cars, new houses, whatever), maintaining inventory is an expense because it represents frozen capital. So, the prudent seller tries to “turn over” his inventory as rapidly as possible, since the money he makes comes from transactions. Obviously, such a person would rather not play in an illiquid market.

    Given the shrinking percentage of car buyers who even know how to operate a manual transmission, the result is an increasingly illiquid market for vehicles equipped that way. So, if the owner of such a vehicle uses a car dealer to sell it, he can expect the dealer to pay him less for it, reflecting the increased time that it will sit in inventory before being sold. However, if he is willing to be patient and endure the hassle of a private sale, there’s no reason why his manual transmission car should sell at a discount.

    Speaking personally, my only fear about purchasing a used manual transmission car is that I don’t know how the previous owner used the clutch and really have no way of determining its condition unless its about to fail. It’s possible to destroy a clutch quickly by abusing it; whereas a properly used clutch should be good for 100,000 miles or more. Obviously, the fewer miles driven by the previous owner, the less your risk is of having to replace the clutch early.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    I was looking for a good used car and came across a 2006 Accord EX – leather, 4 cylinder, 5-speed on a dealer’s used car lot. It was very clean, though it did have 114,000 miles. I test drove it and there was a creaking/clicking noise in the clutch. I mentioned this to the sales rep and he said their mechanic had checked it out and there was nothing wrong it. Other than that the car drove perfectly. I tried to get them to fix the clutch or give me an extended warranty and they wouldn’t budge. The car is still sitting on their lot – now with a lowered price. Not all dealers want to unload manuals.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      “The mechanic checked it out and nothing was wrong with it.”

      Told to the owner of every car broke down on the side of the road, ever. :)

      • 0 avatar
        CaptainObvious

        EXACTLY! I really wanted to buy the car – but they kept insisting nothing was wrong with the clutch – but I knew no clutch felt like that. They had a buyer – but let me walk away.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          “but I knew no clutch felt like that”

          This is where I am. I have been driving manuals since before I could even get my licence. I won’t claim to be the most knowledgeable/best judge of manual transmissions, but I KNOW my car shouldn’t sound like it does. Too bad the dealer can’t figure it out.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Would the lowered price cover the cost of a replacement clutch? If I couldn’t get them to acknowledge or fix the issue, my alternate strategy would be to plan on immediate or quick replacement and ask them to lower the price accordingly.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Not sure – as I didn’t investigate the cost of replacing the clutch.
    The car was originally listed at $7777 (I know, weird) and is currently $6995.
    See it here:
    http://www.hawthornechevrolet.com/Used-2006-Honda-Accord-24-EX-wLeather-Hawthorne-NJ/vd/20993824

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I remember years back my boss had decided he wanted a small truck to replace his well worn out 95(ish) 5.9 Ram 1500. The local Dodge dealer practically gave him one of the two Dakota’s they had on the lot that had the 6 speed in them. He ended up with a Crew 4×4 SLT with a 6 speed/3.55 rear and tow package. The other was a 6 speed SLT V6 Club Cab.

  • avatar
    Fred

    As an aside I bought a Acura wagon less infotainment. My only hope is that when I sell it some 10 years from now, wagons will be in fashion again and no one would want a 10 year old infotainment system.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    A guy I know wanted a late 90’s Jeep Cherokee 2 door with a stick. He found it, and paid a premium. I think Jack is right for a lot of cars.

    Right now I am looking to a stick AWD winter beater. Its not easy, so I may end up paying a premium or just buy an AWD Aerio, weird car but reliable and super cheap.

  • avatar
    ncbmxpro

    Could you bring back bmxbasics? I would love to read it again after 10+ years. Thanks Will Murray

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      When my book comes out, it will have some of that stuff in it. I actually rode a couple skateparks last month, just to remind myself I was too old and crippled to do it :)

  • avatar
    King of Eldorado

    About 25 years ago (pre-internet) I accompanied a friend to several used car lots in search of a minivan. He spotted a Plymouth Voyager that appeared to be in good shape. Upon asking about it, he and was informed apologetically by the salesman that he probably wouldn’t want it because it had a stick shift. My friend had not been aware that they could be had with a manual and told the salesman that was not a problem and that in fact he even preferred it. It was amazing how the salesman immediately switched gears (so to speak) from what an unsellable dog this van was — “but can I show you something else?” — to how rare and hard to find manuals were, maybe even a collector’s item! My friend went back a week later, laughed in the guy’s face when he resumed the valuable rarity pitch, and bought it for the unsellable dog price.

    On a different topic, I point out that financial pluses and minuses for manuals should consider that the manual usually costs less to buy new — $800 (list) in the case of my Honda Fit. Thus, disregarding other factors, the used manual should sell for a proportionately lower price than a used automatic.

    • 0 avatar
      Yeah_right

      Sweet Mother Mary. A manual minivan? What would have compelled any sentinent human being from ordering that option. It’s not like shifting gears yourself on a minivan has ANY impact on the driver’s GQ-factor. A sligthly more cool version of zero is still zero.

  • avatar
    71 MKIV

    Mr. Baruth, was it you or Mr. Lang that had the brown stripper van with the manual Trans that would not go away? And how does something like that fit into your above described paradigm?

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    These views reflect my own. You have every choice under the sun so long as every one else wants the same thing… Screw the individual with non-standard desire for a standard transmission.

  • avatar
    hiptech

    I remember when I ordered my 04 TSX white pearl with 6-spd and Navi which were in short supply back then. I told the salesman I was in no hurry as I knew this was the combo I wanted and was willing to wait.

    They said it would take about 3 months for that car to come in, so I did the same thing I did with my first new car, a ’77 Camaro Z28, I waited and waited and waited.

    Both cars took about the same delivery time and each time the dealer made a complete pest of themselves calling me every 2 weeks trying to get me down to look at another model to put me in. These were never the same cars I spec’d but it was funny watching them squirm whenever I turned them down and said, I don’t think so.

    Eventually I got what I wanted but it always required great patience and diligence to avoid being pulled into the dealership where they kept lowering the price to move me into a faster deal…

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine asked me how much money he thought he’d get for a tired 2000 A4 Avant 1.8T, and if he’d get more if he parted it out. We were both surprised when an Audi enthusiast in the northeast bought it, for much more than we were expecting, because it turned out black/black, manual transmission A4 Avants were uncommon. Go niche cars and their enthusiasts!

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Today in Washington, DC, I saw an Audi A7 (S7?) with NO color – just very dark matte paint. (Big wheels, too, of course.) Until today I’ve never seen a new expensive car repainted in primer.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    When I bought last week, the main factor for the dealer I settled on was having the car I wanted, with a manual and the package I wanted in stock. Sadly, I had to settle on a dull silver/grey, but considering for ’14, my only choices were non-colours and red, and I wasn’t concerned enough to try and screw around to find another unit.

    The intention is to run it into the ground, making resale less of an issue. On the other hand, thankfully, my local market seems to be more receptive to manuals in general – in the past month or so, some of my clients have brought in manual Outbacks, Santa Fes, and Sonatas (on top of the regular economy cars), so a small 5-spd hatchback at least isn’t total poison (the mileage I rack up is probably a bigger problem).

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    You are the master of first sentences.

    Wonderful write-up, ecological fallacy notwithstanding.

  • avatar
    MAGICGTI

    This has mirrored my exact experience, in the dealer side and my personal vehicles.

    In December 2012, I bought a brand-new 2012 Volvo C30 T5 R-Design, midlevel Premier Plus trim. 6-speed manual transmission, very uncommon. Had a port-installed Polestar tune, this was the business for a C30. MSRP was $34k+, bought it for $28k and change. Had the right colors, Black Sapphire metallic with two-tone Calcite cream and black leather seats.

    A mouthbreather like the kids in their parents’ basement like Jack describes would say that being 90% or so C30s were Geartronic automatic, that will be the hot seller on the used market as well. Of course, I know what I have. Historically I have traded out of cars after just a year, so on Autotrader the C30 went in October 2013 with 11k miles. I priced it at $25k, so while I didn’t make out like a bandit I probably suffered the least amount of depreciation any new Volvo buyer in history has after one year. It took a little while to sell, I showed it to three prospective buyers, but eventually a gentleman *he was a dick* from PIttsburgh showed up with the cash and bought it for $25k.

    At the time, I worked at a large Volvo dealer, and we had a base (read: Not R-Design) C30 T5 6-speed manual in stock for a WHILE, it became the last C30 and didn’t move. My reasoning for it not selling was that it wasn’t an R-Design, which is what any Volvo enthusiast wanted. I left the dealership before that car sold, but if was $3k more but R-Design I can promise it would have sold faster.

    As a favorite writer of mine says, ” You gotta hit ’em where they ain’t”

  • avatar
    furiouschads

    Lime green, acid yellow? My Northern Italian (Veneto) relations believe that those colors are always driven by Germans on vacation in Italy. They would point, roll their eyes, and say “Tedesco!” That was a few years before the end of the lira. The license plates usually proved them right.

  • avatar
    Giltibo

    I know the feeling… When I negociated the buyback for my ’08 Accord, the salesman and the F&I guy said the same thing: “Well… the downside for you is that your car has three strikes against it: 1)It’s a Coupe 2)It’s Red and 3)It’s a Manual. On the other hand, it has a huge upside: 1)it’s a Coupe, 2)It’s Red 3)It’s a Manual…”

    For the record, after 6 1/2 years, I still love, love, love my “No Excuses” Red ’08 Accord Coupe 5MT!

  • avatar
    Mathias

    In April, I sold my ’07 Vibe 5speed for $6,800. That was auction price plus $1200 or so, I forget.
    It was an interesting transaction in that I posted the car around 8 o’clock Thursday night, so as to have everyone’s interest when the weekend came around. 24 hours later, the car was gone and I had cash in hand. I had posted my cell phone number, with some misgivings, and I had three serious calls from actual adults with money who could read English.
    And I had two emails from flakes. That’s not a lot of statistics, but it might mean something. There was no haggling, as the price was right, but I threw in my set of winter wheels & tires to sweeten the deal.
    Good pictures made all the difference:
    https://www.msu.edu/~steine13/07vibe.html

    There was no penalty for the car being a manual; I don’t think there was a premium either.
    It will get more interesting when (if ever) I sell the replacement: ’14 Outback Premium 6MT, the last year for the stick in the U.S. THAT car might possibly bring some extra money… but then, Subaru people are odd anyway.

  • avatar
    rustyra24

    I was looking at a Subaru outback XT Limited on Craigslist. It was in fantastic shape but it was a 5 speed. It went from 14,000 (average book) to 10,500 in the span of a month and a half.

    I ended up purchasing it. I talked to the seller and asked why it took so long to sell. He told me he had tons of people look at it but they either couldn’t drive stick (90%) or didn’t want a stick.

  • avatar
    calendar

    I have no idea if it would be easy or difficult to sell my 1998 Acura CL 2.3 5-speed.

    I will drive this car until it or I expire. – 190k and running perfectly.

  • avatar
    hugh59

    I like Audis. I like manual transmissions. I like Porsche lime green. I park my 1999 Audi A4 Quattro with a manual transmission (color: Cactus Green) in a garage next to my 1974 VW Superbeetle Convertible with a manual transmission (color: Ravenna Green AKA 1973 Porsche Lime Green).

  • avatar
    Forty2

    I wanted a new 335i manual, no X-drive, no package bloat, red leather, gray metallic, M-Sport, 19″ wheels. No such beast in all of USA. Did a factory order with a deposit, waited two months, and there it was. So glad I did that.

    The take rate on any manual-trans BMW in the US is maybe 2%. Maybe when I do go to sell it, it’ll take awhile to find that one buyer but I am not all that worried about it. Sales guy told me three people wanted to buy it before I picked it up because of the color combo and rims despite the stick. Hey, maybe you should order cars aside from white lease-special 320i and 528i? Oh right, those move off the lot to stupid people with decent credit.

    Before I decided on 335i I wanted a 535i manual which BMW stopped offering as a factory-build early this year. I found *one* in the entire USA, in California, and didn’t feel the extra size/weight of the 5 offered me anything. Besides, it was white, and I hate white.

  • avatar

    Same thing happened way back in 2004 when we bought our Toyota Matrix XRS-6 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being a 6-speed with some oddball options, nobody wanted her. We got a deal and 140k miles later, she’s still going strong.


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