Another Manual Transmission Bites The Dust, Mazda Kills Popular CX-5's Unpopular DIY Shifter
Mazda, heretofore an avid provider of manual transmissions, is killing off the manual transmission in the brand’s most popular product, the CX-5.
CarsDirect’s pricing analysts informed TTAC of the CX-5’s exclusively two-pedal future, having received confirmation from Mazda.
Few consumers were taking Mazda up on the company’s offer of an entry-level CX-5 with a manual transmission, so while the CX-5’s advertised base price shoots up by $2,290 with the loss of the standard shift, the typical transaction price for the typical CX-5 buyer won’t change.
CarsDirect says the CX-5’s manual transmission will continue to be offered north and south of the border. But for American consumers in search of a manual shift crossover, where are they to turn?
Even with all-wheel drive, the Jeep Renegade, Compass, Wrangler, and discontinued Patriot; Mini Countryman; and Subaru’s Crosstrek and Forester can all be equipped with manual transmissions.
Front-wheel drive versions of the Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and Nissan Juke are available with manual shifters, as well.
But at Mazda? The CX-3, CX-5, and CX-9 are now automatic-only utility vehicles.
Manual transmission availability continues across Mazda USA’s passenger car range, although the death of the Mazda 5 took the manual minivan with it.
The MX-5 Miata, naturally, can be had with a manual transmission in any trim level.
The Mazda 6 allows manual selection in Sport and Touring trims, albeit not the top Grand Touring variant.
Manual shifters are standard in all three Mazda 3 sedan trims and in three of four Mazda 3 5-door trims.
And you can actually get your hands on such cars. 10 percent of the Mazda 3s in stock are manuals, as are 5 percent of the Mazda 6s and nearly two-thirds of all MX-5s.
The CX-5 won’t require a manual transmission to succeed, however. Fewer than 1 in 20 CX-5s sold in America to date were fitted with manuals.
A huge success for Mazda around the world, the CX-5 currently accounts for more than one-third of Mazda’s U.S. volume. Growth has been steady, with CX-5 volume expanding annually in four consecutive years, surging 41 percent between 2013 and 2016.
On a monthly basis, the CX-5’s rate of improvement has been remarkably consistent. In 40 of 49 months, year-over-year CX-5 volume has increased. The 31st-best-selling SUV/crossover in America in 2012, the CX-5 moved up nine positions in 2013 and ranked 19th overall in the last three years, holding steady in old age.
Up until now, the CX-5 could only be linked to a manual transmission with front-wheel drive. Refreshed for the 2017 model year, the CX-5 will be also be available later this year with a diesel powerplant. Mazda has not confirmed one way or the other, but the automaker has no plans to offer the diesel with a manual transmission.
Meanwhile, Cars.com shows that CX-5 buyers who want a manual transmission still have a chance. There are 130 new manual-shift CX-5s on dealer lots, all priced between $20,600-24,500. Get’em while you can.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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With Mazda's US sales stagnating and market share dropping, they're likely trying to trim waste anywhere they can. Selling 5000 manual CX-5s a year becomes an inventory and service headache. Dropping the stick option is probably a wash for the bottom line.
I bought a CX5 and would have gladly bought it with the manual transmission if they had offered it any anything but the base model. I would have had to give up too many things I did want to get the manual.