Mixed Bag: Honda's Manual Take Rates for 2018

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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.

[Images: Honda]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Onyxtape Onyxtape on May 21, 2019

    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.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 21, 2019

    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.

  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
  • The Oracle These are all over the roads in droves here in WNC. Rarely see one on the side of the road, they are wildly popular, capable, and reliable. There is a market for utilitarian vehicles.