By on May 20, 2019

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.

2018 Accord Sport 2.0-Liter Turbo - Image: Honda

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.

[Images: Honda]

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60 Comments on “Mixed Bag: Honda’s Manual Take Rates for 2018...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    I see that in my local area that somewhere around 5 percent of the Civics in inventory have a manual transmission, about half are Si or Type Rs. That’s actually pretty respectable for these days.

    I’m surprised that Honda bothers building manual Accords with that low of a take rate, I can’t think that will last much longer.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      1.7% of Accord sales, is still a good chunk of cars.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        It is, but if you’re a dealer having that low volume of an item is problematic. Our local dealer has 39 Accords in stock, of which 1 is a manual. There’s a very real possibility that they will struggle to find a buyer for that car and may wind up discounting it heavily.

        Low volume and low margin is not a good combination.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      Honda has dropped the manual in the 1.5L 2019 Accord here in Canada. We had an ’18 Accord 1.5l manual kicking around and it sold last month with a -$5000 discount.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Part of the problem, at least in my area, is the lack of sticks on the lots!

    Take my dealer, and forget Accords for a moment, as my upcoming 2019 Touring will probably be the first 2.0T they sell, much less a Sport with a stick (of which maybe they sold one over the first two years of the model run to date): they’ve sold one Civic Type-R since that bowed, and as of now, out of eight Civics and four Fits, not a stick among them! (For the past several years, they’ve done mostly the S/CUVs, and Odysseys don’t sit around long either; I call them the unofficial minivan of my town, many of which have their sticker attached!)

    Elsewhere in the Toledo area, there might be two Accord Sports with sticks, and I’m too lazy to troll the other dealer sites to peruse inventory (I looked that up for a comment either here or at Temple Of VTEC a week ago). But I have to assume that most people don’t want or can’t drive sticks, or need to replace a jalopy, so they don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for a dealer order.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      According to Cars.com, there are two Civic Sis, and two Civic Sports with a manual transmission in your area. No MT Accords or Fits. If you want one they exist, you’ll have to cast a wider net.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Yeah, I put at least some blame on dealers for the death of the manual transmission. Dealers wont stock them because of low take rate, most people wont special order a car they cant test drive first and arent putting a non-refundable deposit down just to get a test drive.

      Sort of self fulfilling prophecy. Dealers wont stock because of low take rate, take is low, in part, because there are none on the ground.

      It would still be a low take rate, but we really dont have an accurate gauge simply because they just arent readily available.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        This isn’t a new problem, I’ve dealt with it all my driving life: In 1997, our dealership had to dealer trade for my neon– that one was 200 miles away in Enterprise, Alabama.

        It was replaced with a manual PT we went to Atlanta to get.

        Even in Lauderdale, I had to drive down to Miami to buy the manual Dart.

        The manual/4×4 Compass I’ve got now came from Tennessee!

        I’ve learned to go to the car– they do not bring the car to the customer. It makes having patience and negotiations impossible.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Yup.

        Even if the leechocracy insists on banning Amazon et al from selling cars direct, in order to protect their favorite dealer/donor’s ability to collect usury rent; they should at least allow national distribution of all model configuration with less than a 5% total take rate. The current version of the rackets, are straight up discriminatory against Americans living away from the very largest dealers.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Accord Sport 2.0T with manual is the only Honda I have any interest in… Although their turbos give me pause.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      Agreed – would make a great family car but would prefer the old V6.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ll be the guinea pig for that bit.

      If I didn’t mention it elsewhere on here, I was surprised to see that at an upper-70s cruising speed, the 2.0T hooked to the 10-speed auto was pulling zero boost, according to the onboard gauge, during a test of my dealer’s last 2018 Touring 2.0T Accord. (That trim was available for both gas engines and the Hybrid for 2018, but the 1.5T/CVT option (like in Canada) was dropped for 2019.)

      Despite my pearl-clutching, the Camry V6 would come out more expensive than the Accord, and still be missing some of the Accord’s features at any price! Plus the interior is a dog’s breakfast, and not as substantial-feeling as the Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        Why is that surprising?

        70-80 mph in a modern, aerodynamic car on flat, level ground isn’t a huge strain. I don’t know how boost is controlled on these (electronic or diaphram wastegate? Something else?) but if it’s directly computer-controlled, the computer could be configured for zero boost when it thinks you’re cruising on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Just my thought that you might need a little boost in higher-speed cruise. What really helps is all those gears in the transmission! In some fifty test miles that day, that transmission was completely seamless in normal driving, and nice crisp shifts when I jumped on it; about a thousand miles on the car. (I’d think the wastegaste would be computer controlled, with some sort of “save the powertrain” pressure setting which would activate before the unthinkable happens.) At 75mph, the car was turning 1,800rpms, same as my V6!

          As I’ve stated in the past, the durability is my biggest concern, but the K20Ts haven’t had the oil-dilution problems of the L15Ts, and my dealer’s service department is willing to go to battle with Honda when needed, so I remain optimistic that my new car will be the same paragon of reliability that my last four have been, and that problems will be addressed satisfactorily.

          • 0 avatar
            EAF

            Irrespective of how boost pressure is controlled, no turbocharged car will ever create boost while “cruising.” Whether you’re cruising at 35mph or 135mph, the engine will be in vacuum. Even a small scroll fast spooling turbo will need load to create positive boost pressure; even if the wastegate flapper is held shut. I’ve never had a steep hill or heavy head wind simulate this type of load in 25 years of driving.

            I would assume the wastegate is completely electronically controlled. Not a solenoid that controls a vacuum signal but indeed 100% computer controlled. It probably features “boost by gear.”

            Cool car, best of luck with it. Enjoy & be safe!

    • 0 avatar
      Freddie

      I did look at the Accord Sport 2.0T/manual, but I ended up getting a Civic Si. The Accord didn’t seem worth the extra ~$6K.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Civics are so roomy today that unless your car is the primary family hauler a Civic has all the room you need. We used to go out to lunch in a coworker’s Civic, we put four adults in it with no complaints.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I love manuals – and I’m happy that Honda still has them as an option on many of their cars.

    But the general population? Last week I was going through the car wash in the Mustang and one of the attendants asked me if the car was a stick. And seemed surprised when I said yes.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      What’s the manual take rate on Mustangs these days? Last I looked when I had mine it was quite high. But the old 6 speed auto wasn’t exactly sporty, I bet the 10AT is driving even more people to automatic land. It doesn’t hurt that it’s way faster than the stick now.

      • 0 avatar
        dividebytube

        Good question – a quick search doesn’t turn up any recent numbers for the Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Don’t know, but the nationwide inventory in Cars.com shows 4300 manuals, 9700 automatics, and 1250 that are not specified. The manuals skew towards the GT models, and not surprisingly, convertibles skew heavily automatic.

        I rented an Ecoboost 10 speed last year for a track day. It did a lot of shifting, which was a bit disconcerting. Later last year, I rented a six cylinder Camaro with an 8 speed automatic, that was just about perfect, drivetrain wise. Vehicle wise, I could live just fine with a Mustang as a daily driver, the Camaro not so much. Both were excellent on track.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Hopefully the rental agency didn’t notice the wear on the tires! ;-)

          Hence the reason I’d be leery of buying a formal rental sled; even something like a Sonata, Camry or Soul! “Drive it like you’re renting it!”

          • 0 avatar
            FormerFF

            There’s nothing in the rental agreement that says you can’t drive the car on a race track.

            For the Mustang at least, the car remains under warranty for track days. Same is true for higher performance Camaros, but the base ones don’t have the performance car warranty. In either case, actual racing does void the worranty.

            Neither of these cars showed any signs of strain from track duty.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    When I bought my ’14 Accord with the stick, dealers with 60 plus Accords would have zero. The dealer did a trade with a little dealer in another state. That dealer was in a town 15,000. I’m hope to buy a new Accord in about five years with a stick. Car is in perfect condition, but trade in value is near zero.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    I’ve been looking (since I love Honda stick shifts) and in my neck of the woods, I’ve found a couple Civic Type-Rs and fewer than 10 Civic Si models, and there are a lot of Honda dealers in a 90 mile radius around here! I didn’t look for Accords with manuals. That’s it.
    I’ve told everyone who will listen, start with a Honda stick shift (because not everyone can or will fit in a Miata lifestyle) and learn from there. They are the easiest and most forgiving to drive. And not much out there was better than the old S2000 manual.
    I believe that if you build it, they will come. Put a few extra on the lots and see if they collect dust. If it’s a performance model like a Type-R or an Si, it’ll be sold. Just don’t go crazy with the markups.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’ve got to remember to ask the salespeople at my dealer if they know if the one Civic Type-R they sold had an ADM, or if they let it go at MSRP.

      I know they wouldn’t allow test drives with it at all, and only certain dealer personnel could even get access to the fob!

      Same reason I had them place an order for my Accord — they know I don’t want a car that’s been hooned! (And I want to ensure that I get the Michelin tires, which can be verified in advance; the Goodyears aren’t as good.)

      • 0 avatar
        theflyersfan

        Not sure where your from, but I’ve been looking in all of the metro areas around Cincinnati (Louisville, Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus, Lexington) – some regions don’t have any Type-Rs at all, as I type this, Louisville has one, and Cincinnati has two. Haven’t updated my inventory search for the other areas yet. Should be pulling the trigger soon, but if the 2020 models are toned down a little bit and squeeze some extra performance out of them, I might have to wait…

        Honda World in Louisville has a white one (and for some reason, most seem to be white…don’t want a white Civic – shows off the fake grilles too much) and no markup. Edmunds is reporting that it might be possible to get one for a few hundred under MSRP. So maybe the days of the dealer trying to get the extra thousands out of the new buyers are coming to an end.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I wanted to test drive an Accord several months ago, but the only ones around were CVT equipped 1.5Ts. Since I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet, I didn’t request one to be found. I might end up placing an order when the time comes.

    Maybe since Mazda are turning the manual into a special order option I can get one with AWD. Not sure how that would work though.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    No surprise about the Accord, but ai am surprised by the lower Civic take rate given the SI and type R models. Frankly, I don’t see the point in having it for the everday cars anyway. I only have a manual in my fun car because:

    1. I need to swap cars with the wife at times to use the SUV and she doesn’t drive stick. She uses the other DD and I am the only driver of the fun car.

    2. Resale in non-performance cars with a stick is terrible.

    When I was shopping for a new car, I wanted a civic SI. However, stick only killed it for me because of point 1.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    My sister looked for a Civic MT to replace the Civic MT that was totaled by a red-light-running driver with “no documents” or insurance. The local Honda dealers had none but they had plenty of sh!tty attitude when asked if they could find one. That sales opportunity dropped into their lap, instead they pissed her off so much that she bought an Elantra.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Don’t see the manual transmission sticking around for much longer. More and more the CVT will be the dominate transmission because they are lighter and cost less to manufacturer. I am not a fan of CVT because for the most part they are expensive to replace and many do not hold up. The auto companies for the most part don’t want a vehicle to last, they want you to come back sooner to buy a new vehicle. I am a fan of manual transmissions but 2 out of 3 of my vehicles have an automatic. I am not going to get all negative about the demise of the manual it is what it is.

  • avatar
    deanst

    This partially explains why I keep seeing a 2018 accord with manual sitting on a dealers lot at $5,000 off.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    That is a good deal especially if you are looking for a midsize sedan with a manual. Honda has one of the best manuals.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Wonder what the numbers look like in Canada. We just got back from a Alaskan cruise and stopped in Victoria BC (lovely place) and even my wife noticed the large number of manual transmission cars. The new Corvette is rumored to be paddle shift only so even performance cars have given up on the manual transmission. Within a decade having a manual on a new car will no longer be possible. If I had to bet the last stick offered will be on the 2030 Miata… assuming its still around then.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Our friends in the Great White North do seem to love manual transmissions more.

      Subaru even stuck around for an extra MY or 2 with the 6 speed manual Outback after cancelling it in the USA. That was a little bit of a low blow considering it was being built on the same assembly line in Indiana as the cars destined for Canada.

  • avatar
    gtem

    A CVT+1.5T Civic is one of the most boring and unengaging powertrains I’ve ever experienced. Never mind the spectacular fuel economy and truly surprising 0-60 numbers.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    When I bought my Accord Sport 2.0T I was prepared to buy one with a stick, thinking it would probably be my last opportunity to buy a new car with one. They even had one on the lot (Black on Black) that looked like it had been sitting for a while. With the dealer not wanting to play ball on the manual, the features that needed to be removed because of it, specifically remote start (kind of useful here in Phoenix) and adaptive cruise control, and my wife looking sideways at me when I told her she could learn how to drive it, I relented and went with the auto. The 10AT pretty much blew me away with how fast and sharp it shifted, so I didn’t feel it was much of a sacrifice. I was also worried about finding a potential buyer down the road. The plan is to keep this one for a while, but there will come a day when I want to sell it. The number of people who can/want to drive manuals is dwindling by the day, especially when it comes to one in a midsize sedan. It would be a niche buyer for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      One of the cars I would consider for my next car would be a Jetta GLI. That would be a good car with a manual transmission, but the DSG is such a good performing transmission it would be hard to pass up, plus my wife would be willing to drive it.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I thought the Sport 2.0T had all the content from the EX, and all Accords have HondaSensing, so ACC is included. Perhaps you meant the low-speed following feature, which isn’t included with the sticks. That’s why there’s no remote start on the Sport 2.0T, though it does have a moonroof, correct?

    • 0 avatar
      ABC-2000

      My only problem with the 10 speed is down shifting, I mean, Honda claim that in hard kick down, the transmission will down shift skipping gears, I am not sure it works, there is no way to keep the gear display on in simple “D” and in sport mode, it would not down shift with a kick down, I was driving about 60mph in sport mode in 10th gear and even flooring it would not down shift, it would upshift in sport mode once you are at 6500 RPM.

  • avatar
    EAF

    Irrespective of how boost pressure is controlled, no turbocharged car will ever create boost while “cruising.” Whether you’re cruising at 35mph or 135mph, the engine will be in vacuum. Even a small scroll fast spooling turbo will need load to create positive boost pressure; even if the wastegate flapper is held shut. I’ve never had a steep hill or heavy head wind simulate this type of load in 25 years of driving.

    I would assume the wastegate is completely electronically controlled. Not a solenoid that controls a vacuum signal but indeed 100% computer controlled. It probably features “boost by gear.”

    Cool car, best of luck with it. Enjoy & be safe!

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I see a lot of complaints about the inventory, but isn’t it possible to order cars? I ordered the one I am driving now, because I hate the sunroofs and the dealers only keep versions with sunroofs. It took a little bit, something like 2 or 3 months, but overall the process wasn’t too painful. Surely the lovers of the manual transmissions can do at least this much, if they are serious at all.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      My sense is that a good proportion of the “save the manuals” crew are the same ones who will only buy used because suckers buy new and pay for that depreciation. I’ve done my part and buy the cars new so that the numbers hit the chart.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Curious what the Subaru and Jeep rates are.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Since they built about 290,000 Accords, that take rate is about 5,000 cars. Actually that’s pretty substantial for a family sedan. Automakers who stop building manuals do so at their own peril

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I think today people want three-row seating, not three-pedal driving.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    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.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    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.


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