There’s a line that we have grown accustomed to hearing from automakers: We don’t offer a manual transmission because the take rate is so low. Moreover, the rule of thumb is that Americans buy automatics while our friends across the Atlantic prefer manuals. Electric cars even outsold stick-shifts in 2019. However, with cars like the Porsche 911 GT3, expectations are turned on their heads. A new one will soon be upon us, but let’s see how the previous model did.
According to BNN Bloomberg, Porsche spokesperson Luke Vandezande says America’s take rate for the 6-speed manual GT3 is an astonishing 70%. Not only that, but the global manual take rate for the GT3 doesn’t even come close, at just 30%. And among non-GT3 911s, the rate is only 20% to 25%. It’s clear that despite the 7-speed PDK being the quicker accelerating option and the fact that a Turbo is faster, buyers of the naturally aspirated GT3 are prioritizing a connection to the machine over lap times.
For mass-market cars like a Nissan Sentra, the standard transmission take rate is typically 1% or less. Even hold-outs like Honda and BMW have dropped the manual option for their 2021 Civics, Accords and 3-series. However, certain sporty models have maintained their old school soul. For the Subaru WRX, 90% of buyers choose a manual. For the Mazda Miata, 76% of soft-top buyers opt for a manual. For VW Golf R and GTI buyers, it was 44%.
There can be vast differences within a brand, too. For example, the Mini JCW hardtop sees a 41% manual take rate, while the Cooper S Countryman sees a big fat goose egg. Sometimes its brand dependent too. For Subaru BRZ buyers, 78% opt for a manual, but for the nearly identical Toyota 86, only 33% do so.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the 911 GT3, one of the purest driver’s cars around, has such a high rate of stick shift buyers, but after consistently being told Americans don’t buy manuals, even we were pleasantly surprised at the stats. Turns out we weren’t the only ones. Porsche themselves were surprised too. As told by Autocar, Head of motorsport Frank-Steffen Walliser said, “We lost several bottles of wine by betting on the take rate when we reintroduced the manual option. We were surprised by how high it was.”
h/t to Motor1