Toyota sells fewer and fewer manual transmissions — here's how many fewer
16 May 2019 - Autoblog
It's automatic for the people
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.
In 2018, Toyota sold some 280,000 Corollas in the United States. Just 1% of buyers chose a manual transmission. One! If you only look at the hatchback's figures, they are a touch more positive at 15% for the manual, but as the sedan considerably outsells the hatch, there aren't that many eager manual Corolla buyers in the States. As for the Tacoma and Yaris, they both hover at 5 percent, and undoubtedly as a result, the 2020 Yaris hatch is auto only for the U.S. market. (In the Tacoma, a manual is only available with the four-cylinder engine, not the six, so the pickup's manual take rate is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
But the real knife twister is the 86. Even though it's viewed at an enthusiast car, the 86's figures are heavily on the automatic's side. Just 33% of buyers went for the manual, and 67% would rather have the six-speed automatic do the hard work. It's no wonder the Supra only comes as an automatic, and just looking at these numbers, we wouldn't really be that surprised if the eventual 86 successor left out the manual option as well, at least for the United States. Globally, the results surely differ, but in the States it seems 86 buyers favor autobox convenience to the analog feel of shifting your own gears.
Still, the manual options are out there, even if the numbers and availability are dwindling. If you'd really rather buy and drive a manual car, it's entirely possible. But we'd recommend doing that sooner than later.