Automakers are continuing to give us a peek at the popularity, or lack thereof, of the manual transmission. Our latest information comes from Subaru, which kindly shared its manual transmission take-rate numbers for 2018. One of the most interesting tidbits was that 78% of Subaru BRZs sold had a manual. What makes that so curious is its stark contrast to its twin, the Toyota 86, where only 33% of those sold in 2018 had a manual. On top of that, the BRZ has a stronger manual take-rate than the enthusiast darling Mazda Miata; the soft top had 76% of buyers going for a stick, and the RF had 52%. If we had to speculate, it seems the Subaru BRZ is attracting the hardcore sports car fans.
Although the BRZ manual sales are strong, it isn't the model that sells the most. The Subaru WRX tops it with 90% of buyers picking the manual over the CVT option. We of course suspect that plenty of regular WRX buyers are opting for the manual, though the number is likely partly boosted by the fact the STI version is only available with a manual.
We've had quite a bit of news about manual transmission take rates this week. On the disappointing side, we learned that Toyota doesn't sell many manuals in the models it offers them, and even the 86 sports car is sold more with the automatic. On the encouraging side, most people still buy Miatas with a manual. Now we have data from Honda that's partly encouraging and partly discouraging: it sold more manuals in 2018 than 2017, but the portion of overall sales is still small.
We'll focus on the good news first. Honda sold 30 percent more manual transmission-equipped cars in 2018 than in 2017 for a total of 45,601 cars. Making that number even more impressive is the fact that the Honda brand's total sales for the year went down by 2.2 percent.
Earlier, we wrote about Toyota's underwhelming 2018 manual transmission sales figures. To recap – as Toyota's representatives told CarBuzz – the automatic Corolla outsold its manual equivalent to a ratio of 100 to 1, and just one in three Toyota 86 buyers picked a manual version of the rear-drive coupe.
What about the other famous rear-wheel-drive offering from Japan, Mazda's MX-5 Miata? A case can be made that an 86 buyer cross-shops the Miata, and vice-versa, but what kind of split do Mazda's sales figures reflect in comparison?
It probably comes as no surprise that manual transmissions are on uncertain ground these days. Fewer models are offered with them, and public perception is that rowing-your-own is more of an enthusiast thing. But carmakers do not stick with automatics for no reason: expected and realized demand tells manufacturers if it's worth engineering a three-pedal variant. A good example is the new Toyota Supra, which only comes as automatic. There's surely a justified reason for the omission of a manual option, especially when we take a look at these manual take-rate figures provided by CarBuzz.
You can buy the Corolla sedan and hatch as a manual, just like the Tacoma, Yaris sedan and the 86 coupe. CarBuzz discussed the manual gearboxes' popularity with a Toyota representative at a Supra launch event, and the numbers are telling.
Update: We got wind of what Mazda had in store for the 2019 Mazda 6 in this report from last week, and now we have all the official information from Mazda. The news on the manual transmission's disappearance is still true — 2018 model year cars will be the last ones that make that an option. There are a few changes Mazda has implemented for this model year, and a slight price adjustment that goes with.
The addition of Mazda's i-Activsense safety tech as standard is confirmed. As is G-Vectoring Control Plus, the next generation of Mazda's G-Vectoring we saw hit the CX-5 for the 2019 model year. Pricing has been adjusted to reflect the extra standard equipment and elimination of the manual transmission. A base (manual) 2018 Mazda 6 Sport costs $22,845 with its $895 destination fee, but the new 2019 model begins at $24,720 with the $920 destination fee included. That's a considerable increase, but the charge for an automatic transmission was $1,050 of that previously. Higher trim levels don't experience as much of a hike. For example, the maxed-out Signature is only $375 more expensive in 2019, coming in at $36,020 total. Mazda says the 2019 Mazda 6 goes on sale this month. It's a little surprising that 2019 model year Mazda 6s weren't already on sale, but mid-year updates or late introductions aren't exactly out of the norm for Mazda.
Japan's labor ministry says an improper method for surveying wages and working hours at private-sector companies was included in a manual used in 2004.
The monthly surveys were supposed to cover all large businesses with 500 or more workers. But the ministry was found to have covered only about one third of such firms in Tokyo since 2004.
A lot of times to simplify the overall process and to help users, companies usually include automatic backup tools that backs up your data once a day. However being able to choose when is also a good option to have, and for Android users, the good news is that it looks like manual backup is now rolling out for your devices.
Last month there was a report that Android users would soon get the option to manually backup their devices to Google Drive, and now a report from 9to5Google has revealed that the feature is now rolling out to users. Prior to this, the automatic backup feature was limited to a device that was charging and connected to WiFi.