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Vanishing Manual Transmission. It's getting hard to find one to buy one?

After 19 wonderful years, my beloved 1991 Toyota Celica GTS has seen better days. As such I’m car shopping in Northern Virginia for a similar car including a manual transmission.

I was at a Honda dealer test driving a Fit and then a Mazda dealer looking to test drive a Mazda3 hatchback, which they did not have in stock. In both cases the dealers claimed they could not keep the manual transmissions in stock, hinting that they would not budge much on price.

Are the dealers on the level?


People buying econoboxes generally don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars extra (or more) for an automatic, so the manuals sell out first.

And yeah, those two are popular choices, so you’ll have little bargaining leverage.

If you want a popular car, you have to pay full price with or without a a manual transmission. If your top priority is to save money, look at an unpopular car. The Chevy Cobalt is at the end of it’s life (it will be replaced next year) and has huge discounts. We have a 2009 and it runs well for us. All 3 of our kids like it best of the 3 cars they get to drive. Or just pay full price for the 2011 Fit.

I was kinda sorta hoping the price differential for buying a manual in an urban area would be greater but I guess not. I’m guessing that manufacturers are getting better about managing inventory, not shipping too many cars to dealers that won’t sell – i.e. far fewer manual models, so the supply is in line with demand.

Additionally from what I’ve read there’s little to no savings in trying to locate a late model used car in this class of vehicles. It’s only a few hundred dollars difference buying used versus new in 2009-2011 Honda Fits and not much difference for Mazda 3s.

I got my old Celica for a song back in 1991 – it was a repo’d car with 13,000 miles on it and it was just about the time that folks were ditching sporty cars for SUVs. Dang it was the best $15,000 I ever spent!

It depends on the car. A sports car is likely to be available in manual, a large luxury car will be hard to find in a manual model. They don’t many many.

Indeed! The number of cars still available in manual is dwindling. There are some cars I might have looked at but weren’t available in manual.

This will be my last manual car. Crossing my fingers that I can get plenty of years out of the new purchase by the next round of car buying, I’ll go automatic, I’ll be too old to shift :slight_smile:

I only drive manual. Bought a 5spd Versa even though the 6 spd is better. Oddly, last night my 3 and 4 gears disappeared completely, possibly internal failure at only 1200 miles. My bros 94 Golf had internal faliure of clutch lever. (not bulletproof!)You can search Honda and Mazda dealers stock further out and look for one that has a bunch of manuals in stock. good luck. You’ll miss your TOY though.

In my opinion, a car with amanual transmission would not be a LUXURY car!!

In my opinion, any car that has you working like a slave so you can make the car payments is not a luxury car.

If you look at the EPA gas mileage site and then under “Side by Side Comparison”, you can find vehicles available with a manual transmission. You can even buy a Cadillac CTS 6 or V8 with a manual.

BMW 3 and 5 series sedans – front engine, RWD and manual transmission. My cars of choice for over 20 years.


“I’m guessing that manufacturers are getting better about managing inventory…”

Manufacturers don’t manage inventory, dealers do. Dealers are willing to speculate in good markets and carry niche cars that are less likely to sell immediately. In this market, they only want the cars that move quickly.

I suggest that you go to the Honda and Mazda web sites and use the ‘find a dealer’ function. Put your zip code in and a radius of about 50 miles. See if any dealers have several manual Fits or Mazda3s. The dealers with more than one will be more likely to deal. If you can’t find a dealer within 50 miles, expand the radius.

If you’re in northern Va. You may want to look at dealers closer to around the Fredricksburg area or even a little further south, like in a semi-rural area where pickups are the hot sellers, the dealers might more willing to negotiate on a small economy car in an area where they aren’t in strong demand.

The websites aren’t so accurate though. I’ve already been shopping via website and found many instances where the car on the website wasn’t on the lot, it had magically been “sold just the other day and we didn’t update the website yet”. Better yet in two instances I had even called ahead.

I think they did sell them. The sales staff has to sell cars to eat.

In my opinion a luxury car without the option of a manual transmission is not capable of delivering to the customer what he may want. In my opinion any car without a manual transmission is booooring!!!

It’s not about work it’s about being in total control of what your engine and wheels are doing!!!

It’s fun its the ultimate driving experience. A trained monkey can just sitting down and steer a car. It takes a smarter person to CORRECTLY NEGOTIATE THE CORRECT GEAR in reference to speed and torque.