Malcolm Flynn | Aug 2, 2012

Sales of vehicles equipped with H-pattern manual transmissions represent seven percent of the US market this year, according to a new report.

Auto news site reported the numbers this week, marking a rise from the 2011 figure of 3.9 percent - contradicting thoughts that the traditional manual's popularity is on a steady decline.

Greatly improved efficiency and refinement of automatic and dual-clutch transmissions has pushed a shift in buyer preferences, leading to an expectation that the H-pattern will eventually disappear altogether.

However, the report suggests that there are other factors at play in this minor reversal of preferences.

"A combination of factors - from the growing age of vehicle trade-ins bringing more manual drivers back to market, to a greater proportion of smaller cars on the road - is creating a small spike for stick shifts," Edmunds industry analyst Ivan Drury said.

He added that while manual cars are on the rise now, "they're on track to be virtually extinct in the next 15 to 20 years."

2012 porsche 911 cabriolet overseas 02

Buyers of performance models continue to choose H-patterns more than most, and particularly those in the US.

The US-market Porsche 911 is a key example of this, with a near 50/50 split between dual-clutch PDK and H-pattern options.

On a global scale, this figure shifts to 78 percent in favour of the PDK, as 991-model development boss Michael Schätzle confirmed recently with US mag Automobile.

The US was also the sole market to receive a manual version of the previous E60 BMW M5, which is expected to be repeated with a future version of the new F10 M5.


Local 911 sales have mimicked the global average for PDK choice in recent times, representing 80 percent of sales in 2011.

However, Porsche Australia expects the new 991 model’s innovative seven-speed H-pattern transmission to sway this figure somewhat.

It's a different story again for Toyota’s new 86 coupe, with 66 percent of local orders to date being for the manual option, confirmed with TMR today by Toyota Australia’s Elise Rennie.

Interestingly, this choice is reversed for the 370Z, with Nissan Australia's Jeff Fisher confirming today that 60 percent of owners have gone with the seven-speed automatic transmission.

Either way, it is clear that there is life in the H-pattern transmssion yet.