Mixed Bag: Honda's Manual Take Rates for 2018
Last week, we shared a report on the number of manual transmission-equipped vehicles Toyota sold last year. If you haven’t the time the to re-read the entire post, it was a trifling sum that showcased just how unimportant these types of cars have become among mainstream shoppers — even if there were a couple of bright spots.
However, as the death march of be-sticked automobiles is a topic that gets many enthusiasts out of bed and into the comment section, it wouldn’t hurt to check in on how Honda’s manual tranny sales faired in 2018.
As part of a sweeping trend within the motoring media, the folks at Autoblog requested that the manufacturer hook them up with the applicable data. Things were, once again, predictably grim, but not without a faint glimmer of hope. Honda moved 45,601 manual-equipped cars inside the United States in 2018. While that represents a woebegone 2.8 percent of the total brand sales from that period, it also constitutes a 30-percent increase in volume from the previous year.
Honda’s Fit managed to ship 10.5 percent of its total volume with a manual transmission. That feels surprisingly healthy, especially compared to Toyota’s Yaris — which was at about half that, encouraging the company to nix the manual variant for the 2020 model year. Meanwhile, only 1.7 percent of Accord buyers chose to row their own.
The Civic, which undoubtedly benefited from Si and Type R sales, managed a manual take rate of 13.6 percent. We anticipated that the sportier variants would help the Civic surpass the Corolla hatchback’s take rate of 15 percent but, alas, it was not to be. Still, the number proves that there is a market for for vehicles with a clutch pedal, even if it’s the very definition of niche.
Autoblog also took into account the existing data from 2019, noting that year-t0-date manual sales through April sit at 12,648 — roughly 2.6 percent of the brand’s sales total. While it’s still too early to call it a loss, things aren’t looking promising. Only the Accord managed to increase its manual take rate through the first quarter of this year, and that was by a negligible 0.1 percent.
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The last car I test drove on the lot with a manual was a Focus. It was the most stripped down car in recent memory - roll-up windows, radio only, no A/C. I remember it was $7000 before incentives. The stick knob came off in my hand during the test drive. The salesman flashed his best golden teeth smile and assured me that these things just pop right back in.
That must have been more than 10 years ago. I don't know of any car in the US market that is available without air conditioning and I don't know of any recent Focus with crank windows. There has not been a new car in recent years available for 7k. Even the fleet Focus is available with power windows, power brakes, power steering assist, air conditioning, cruise control, and blue tooth connectivity. The 2012 fleet Focus I drove for a number of years had all those features.