Manual Versus Automatic Transmissions

By Ford Social Member

We noticed that more than a few of the ideas in our new Your Ideas section regarding transmission technology and the availability of various transmission types. We thought it might be helpful to share what Ford is doing right now with transmission technology and the results that customers can expect. We also posted a new poll where you can register your transmission preference.

For those asking for a dual-clutch transmission, it’s on the way. The Ford PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission will be available in the 2011 Ford Fiesta. This new dual-clutch automatic – the first six-speed transmission in the segment – will help the Fiesta to deliver an expected best-in-class fuel economy rating with the convenience of fully automatic shifting. The dual dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission is based on efficient manual transmission technology, eliminating the additional weight and complexity of a torque converter, planetary gears and the fluid pumps employed in traditional automatics. Electronically controlled, twin internal clutches shift gears quickly and smoothly, providing a seamless flow of torque with the refinement and ease customers expect from a premium automatic transmission.

The Fiesta is the second new Ford vehicle to deliver better fuel economy using an automatic transmission rather than a manual. The new six-speed automatic in the 2011 Mustang Coupe betters the highway fuel economy of the standard six-speed manual by 2 mpg. Traditionally, manual transmissions have delivered higher fuel economy. But Ford’s latest automatic transmission advancements have reversed the decades-old scenario, using advanced technology to provide customers with exceptional efficiency and the convenience of an automatic transmission. Mustang drivers who prefer a manual gearbox will enjoy the short throws and direct feel of the shifter along with the relaxed cruising permitted by the extra top gear ratio.

With an array of new automatic transmission technologies, Ford is out to challenge the status quo by delivering segment-leading fuel economy without compromise to convenience, and accessibility to a much broader segment of the driving public. Fewer drivers possess stick-shift skills, as manual transmission market acceptance continues to drop, falling 22 percent over the last decade.

“Ford’s advanced new six-speed automatic transmissions will really surprise our customers, and our competitors,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president of Powertrain Development. “They provide the convenience of traditional automatics with fuel economy leadership, as well as responsive performance and driving dynamics that make these cars fun to drive. And we’re adding six-speed transmissions to our most accessible vehicles, not just our luxury offerings and high-performance models.”

For 2011, Super Duty also features an all-new transmission. The 6R140 heavy-duty TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission was designed to manage the high levels of low-end torque produced by the new diesel engine. The same basic transmission is also mated to the new gasoline engine, giving customers of either engine the ability to efficiently get the increased torque and horsepower to the ground. In addition to hardware-based improvements, the new transmission features enhanced Tow Haul mode with integrated engine exhaust braking and SelectShift Automatic capability, which includes Progressive Range Select and a manual mode, allowing customers to select the gear to suit their needs.

Ford is committed to six-speed transmissions, with availability across 85 percent of its nameplates for 2010. By 2013, these fuel-saving, performance-enhancing six-speed transmissions will be offered in 100 percent of Ford vehicles.
Mark Smith 08/28/2014
Bring back manual transmissions in your F-150 series trucks please. By 'manual' I mean one in which the driver pushes and releases the clutch and moves the shift lever, not a manual with an automatic clutch. That's my biggest beef with my 2014 F150. I almost didn't buy it because there was no manual transmission.
Daniel M 12/13/2013
It's funny how this article completely puts down manual transmissions, but the picture at the top of the article is of a manual transmission gear shifter. No manual transmission = no sale to me.
Daniel M 12/13/2013
Ford or anybody else can make automatic transmissions as fancy as they want. I will never buy one. Also, the fuel economy of a manual transmission is completely dependent on the driver. I'd be willing to bet my hard earned money that I could beat the fuel economy of any slush-o-matic transmission in any vehicle with a similarly geared manual transmission.
dominic p 04/15/2013
Lack of demand? Profitability? I understand that people today buy more automatic vehicles than manuals. I also understand that the more units you sell of something the more profitable that unit will be. First of all, people done't really have a choice anymore between auto and manual as most vehicles/models are only available in automatics so to say there's a lack of demand for manuals may still be true when compared to automatics, but to accurately say what that difference is is not possible until you offer a manual for every auto. You want to talk about a lack of demand or a declining trend, let's look at Ford vehicle sales. Look at how many units Ford used to sell of each model vehicle 50 years ago or so and compare that to today. Now there's a declining trend, but Ford still makes cars and a profit (and more automatics than ever before). If I was Ford I would stop my greedy ways and put profitability to the side and give customers what they want in the name of sales because there are NO profits if there are NO sales and in this market every sale counts. In the case of manual transmissions, I would acknowledge that there's still is a demand for manuals and begin offering it on every vehicle and every model of vehicle (cars and trucks). Then advertise the vehicles as such with the results of boosting vehicle image and Ford brand image, and boosting sales of not just manuals but you'll end up selling more automatics as well. But, going to China to to design and build these manuals, like in the 2011 -2014 Mustang GT, is a no-no. Don't go cheap unless you're selling to that market. Quality, reliability and dependability is how the Japanese took the car market and it's going to have to be part of Ford's strategy to not only maintain their current surge of sales but to earn the market share back. You now have to make a choice on whether or not you want to take a loss on every manual transmission you sell (A loss on just the transmission it's self. You'll still be profitable overall due to the sale of the vehicle, which is what is important here), or if you want to break even, or if you want to make less of a profit than usual, or if you want to make profits as usual, which I would guess is always increasing with no limits. Of course, whatever you choose would reflect the overall cost of the vehicle (-$1200 to +$1200 of the total vehicle price). Myself, I would take the loss to encourage people back into manual vehicles again and enjoy increased sales, profits and market share.
dominic p 04/12/2013
It's a mistake to dictate what customers need and want. I understand there may be a higher demand in automatics overall, but that's no reason to delete a manual. There still is a market for manuals and if Ford wants to be a true truck leader they should satisfy this market, period. I will not buy a truck with an automatic transmission. Trucks are supposed to be simple, reliable, tough and durable. And when you stray from these essential fundamentals what you end up with are trucks that Ford can't even fix.
Robert R 04/08/2013
Automatics are a waste of time, unless you need it while you apply make up, drink and eat, busy texting, yelling at kids, or any other numerous activity that take your attention from driving. I still believe I would rather drive my vehicle than steer it down the road. Also, I've asked this of many Ford dealers, If the automatic is so good and efficient why are there so many for sale ads with "rebuilt transmission, new transmission just installed" listed and why do you need an oil cooler for the transmission? Where does the heat come from? I always thought heat was produced by energy? I don't remember a manual transmission with an oil cooler.
Kelly 02/11/2013
Was getting ready to buy a new truck. Come from a family of farmers who all drive fords, I have always driven a ford myself. I have owned 2 ford rangers and was about to buy a new F-series. I come to find out that Ford has forgotten 2 things that made us love ford trucks over the years. 1. A truck is a tool, 2. driving is supposed to be fun. How many stumps can I rock out before your new automatic fails? On some of these trucks you have replaced a few inexpensive time tested and trusted pieces with a $6000 transmission. I get good gas mileage with a manual, you say I will get better gas mileage with your new autos, but how many miles will I have to drive to make up for the increase in cost? And that is assuming that it doesn't fail along the way. My 2003 ford ranger Fx4 level II has over 100,000 miles on it. It developed a leak in the slave cylinder. My mechanic asked why I didn't tell him the clutch was new... he said it was just replaced. I told him that clutch had been with me for 100,000 miles now. He said it had tons of life left in it. The repair was $600, I shudder to think what auto tranny repair would have cost me. Bring back the manuals. No manual, No sale.
Chadwick 09/08/2012
I'm still thinking that a 4-wheel drive truck with a manual transmission and manual locking front hubs will always be the way to go for my trucks, but they always think that new is better. Sure new is better but keep the same tech and make it more solid, bullet proof it. I was thinking of getting a Ford truck for the Eco-boost engine but with manual trans option count me out.
John N 09/01/2012
Dear Ford: I’ve been buying Ford for decades. Ten of these were new vehicles. My favorite was a F350 with the 7.3 and a 6 speed ZF Manual. All of my trucks were manual, because on icy roads; a manual with 4x4 and a diesel can get you there with that heavy load in the back. The characteristics of driving and automatic are determined by the engineers who design the vehicle. That can never-ever be the right thing in all situations. Only the driver knows certain things (such as) he has ice under his right tires and not his left on a 50% grade with 4000lb in the bed and how to work the clutch and stick to get that stopped. I worked for Ford for 14 years and still love that make; but sorry guys, you’ve shot yourselves in the rump by forcing the issue on transmissions. Just admit you messed up and reintroduce the manual with light trucks that have diesels in them. No manual transmission = no sale. I really hate at this late time in my life to start shopping new brands; but I will. I have about 6 more trucks left before my sons take over. I want to make those Fords; but neither I or my boys will compromise. If you think that is a rare or minority opinion; you’re wrong again.
Scott Bivens 04/28/2012
I dont like any form of automatic transmission if you hope to sell me any vehicle you bettter make a standard transmission available. I will garintee barb if i do buy a new truck and it has an automatic transmission in it i will remove it and mail it back to your door step
Alex Lotan 03/22/2012
O how I wish I could get an F-150 with a manual transmission in it... if I ever buy I will definently be doing everything I possibly can to find a way to ditch the stupid lazy mans total moron average everyday idiot transmission and put a good six speed manual behind hat awesome engine... automatics blow... no fun to drive at all... ford needs to at least leave manual transmissions as a special order option :(
Angela P 03/18/2012
Love the stick! I agree with Erich b/c I'd continue to buy only a stick if they were available...I end up deciding between economic and stick and the small pickin's of the automatics....I am needing to replace my 96 Ranger (280,000m) and 98 F150 (225,000) right now...I'd love to find a manual hybrid 4 door a reasonable price...ideas? IDK? Can you make a hybrid manual?
Erich Lippert 02/09/2012
Oh, and my car of choice is a VW TDI, because literally no American car company offers a (capably) high performance, nicely appointed economy car with a manual transmission. I would love to own a loaded Fusion or SHO with a stick, or a Focus with a turbodiesel, but no luck, guess I'll stick to German cars and American trucks.
Erich Lippert 02/09/2012
It's hilarious to hear them say that sales show that customers are preferring automatics when MORE AND MORE LINES OF VEHICLES no longer offer a manual transmission option year after year. Obviously when an auto is the only option for entire lines of vehicles, the statistic is going to skew in that direction. Or, if you can't get a manual with this upgrade package, or that engine. If a manual were actually still an option in all of the F150s (not just base models), and the Fusion and SHO. I'm sure you would see some demand there.
Paul Earwood 02/05/2012
Bring back manual in your F-150 trucks they are still some men out here who work with a pickup not just ride around!!!!!
John Nyberg 01/08/2012
The six speed ZF Manual gear box with manual 4x4 transfer case was the only way to keep my old F350 stable and under good control on Minnesota’s often very icy roads; especially with loads . The old 7.2 Diesel was good enough, but I had looked forward to the new diesel engine; however without the option of a manual transmission I think our next trucks will be made by somebody that is less myopic about the “skills” (or lack there of) in people who should probably just settle for little half ton pick up trucks with automatic transmissions and gasoline engines. Automatics steal power and rob the operator of needed wheel torque management needed on ice. Sorry Ford; I used to work for you, and I used to buy your trucks exclusively but... Still I really hate the Idea of buying some government made truck.UG!
Tom 01/05/2012
Ford has made a big mistake eliminating the manuals in the f-series trucks. Unless they bring it back the will have lost another customer. Automatics don't belong in trucks.
Some Guy 12/25/2011
I would have liked to have bought a new Focus, but the model I was interested in came only with automatic (Yuck!). I instead bought a Fiesta. Fortunately, I found a model in stock with all the features and the color I wanted, and with a manual. I searched dealer inventory and didn't find any others on the east coast. If there's any doubt of my opinion, I'll state it here - Manual = yes; Automatic = no.
Brian Warren 11/09/2011
Super Duty trucks need a 6-speed manual.
Clinton Frantz 07/07/2011
Your statistic stating that "manual transmission market acceptance continues to drop, falling 22 percent over the last decade" is very misleading because manufacturers are building most of their cars and trucks with either no manual trans option or only base level vehicles that most people don't want. By doing this you are forcing people to buy an automatic that they don't want and severely skewing your statistic. I will not own an automatic. I enjoy "driving" my cars and trucks, having little maintenance, and having brakes last over 100, 000 miles. No slushbox can do that! The biggest disappointment is the Super Duty with no manual!!! After owning Ford trucks for over 30 years my next will be a 6 speed behind a Cummins!!
Clinton Frantz 07/07/2011
Comment on this ARTICLE!
Mike 05/01/2011
I won't buy a car if it does not offer a manual transmission. Automatics just take all the fun out of driving.
David S. 03/27/2011
Unbelievable; a full on heavy duty truck not available w/stick.
I'm not the only customer you've lost.
Patrick L. 02/02/2011
I just want to add on something:
" Fewer drivers possess stick-shift skills, as manual transmission market acceptance continues to drop, falling 22 percent over the last decade.\\"
Although this may be true of the average customer, it is not to the enthusiast. Yes, there are some people as an exception, but consider this: 100% ALL of my buddies that are car enthusiast would rather have a manual gear box than any type of automatic. 100% ALL OF THEM. The manual transmission is not dead. Do not kill it.
Patrick L. 02/02/2011
I have to completely agree with C Miller. I am an automotive student in a four-year degree and an avid automotive enthusiast. I love Ford, but usually end up interfacing a lot with the import crowd (DSM, Subaru, Toyota). Ford has gained a lot of respect in their new ways, but the one thing they are missing is a wider view of driving fun for the enthusiast. What I mean is exactly in parallel to C Miller\\'s statement. Automatics in any form are nice... they are nice. But an enthusiast craves a manual... manual control. An AWD Fusion with a manual 6-speed or an AWD Focus with a manual 6-speed, both with ecoboost WILL give those the Subaru, Mitsubishi, DSM and Toyota crowd a real competitive run. I would truely consider buying an AWD manual 6-speed Fusion or Focus over a manual 6-speed Mustang, although I love Mustang.
Ricky Rowland 02/01/2011
I from a ford man though and though with a ford pickup for every body style ford has ever built clear back to the model T i wont buy another ford pickup cause I dont drive autos and anyone who says they pull and handle loads as well as standards has never pulled 25,000 up and down and ice moutain pass or they would not be driving an auto! big mistake ford!!
zach 10/05/2010
Althogh i love ford my choises of cars is reduced due to i just wont buy an automatic truck or car it wold be nice to still be able to buy a f-150 with a five speed manual transmition
Michele 09/25/2010
I think it's a pity that it's so hard to find a manual in the ford falcon. I would never drive an automatic but when you go to buy a new falcon most of them are autos, I know plenty of people who love driving manuals. I find you have more control of the car in a manual and surely autos can't save that much more petrol.
Dave 08/27/2010
I would honestly buy a Taurus SHO or a Fusion Sport AWD if they were offered with a manual transaxle. I would prefer the SHO or a Fusion because of 4 doors, but the next sporty car I will own will be a Mustang GT or Boss 302. What about the people that want a manual transmission that have a family? Come On Ford.....Bring out the manual transmission. I bought a Mazda 6 over a Fusion specifically for the manual transmission and the V6.
Harold M 08/15/2010
Stick with me here (pardon the pun); many years ago folks stuck in traffic jams felt the 'hassle' of a stick made the automatic a better choice, but what causes traffic jams? Traffic studies have shown how one person in heavy traffic who puts on their brake lights, without actually slowing down, causes a chain reaction slowing which quickly causes a complete halt in heavy traffic, while the 1 car which showed their brake lights never actually slowed, they just caused the brake light to come on. With the inability of an automatic to slow the car as quickly as a manual, you have to apply the brakes. The result is a traffic jam. While this is a totally unscientific postulation, could it be we would have better fuel useage numbers in the USA if we had fewer traffic jams if we had more sticks to slow the cars w/o brakes? I'm just sayin'...
Now, another wild theory. Why did pickups become the huge seller they did a number of years ago? Could it have been: availability of a V-8, rear wheel drive, manual tranny? The '80's killed choices in US built vehicles. with the adoption of "packages" from the manufacturer. Remember when you could buy a big ole motor to tow the boat/camper/dirt bikes/groceries and stuff it under the hood of your 4-door with a 4-speed, and if it was my dad, no a/c 'cause it used too much gas? He didn't care about mileage, he wanted control, and with over 2 million accident/ticket free miles under his scrawny 85 year old body that is what he got.
Jim C 06/21/2010
I had to find an older F150 to buy just to get a manual transmission. It's a 2000 supercab model. I love it and will not buy a new one without a manual stick. I was considering a new one till I found out there were no longer manuals. Too bad for Ford who are ignoring us!
Lynn 06/01/2010
If you've ever owned and/or been a motorcycle rider, you know how important it is to be able to manually shift your machine. There's a level of control there that can't be matched by any automatic, no matter how advanced it is. And there are a LOT of drivers out there who prefer to shift manually as it gives them total control over engine speed and power output, and is as it should be. I will never drive an automatic as long as standards remain available. And I hope they always will be!
JR 05/21/2010
I haven't seen mentioned here anything about the design of the new 6 speed manual transmission. If you look at the gear ratios fifth gear is now 1:1 and there is only 1 overdrive with a ratio of 0.82:1. This is the primary reason the automatic gets better fuel economy. If the transmission had been designed like the Viper T-56 with 2 overdrive gears with usable ratios the fuel economy would be much improved. Also, the 6 speed manual transmission features a 1-4 skip shift function like the Chevrolet Corvette and Camaro. This feature is an extreme annoyance to a driver who likes to have control of their transmission and drive like they like to. The new transmission also has a new first gear ratio of 3.66:1 where the first gear in the 5 speed was 3.35:1. This is an extremely low gear when installed in a 5.0 Mustang. The older 4.6 Mustang with a 5 speed had some problems with traction in wet conditions and the new transmission will only be worse.
John 05/06/2010
Ever since news started trickling out about the new Mustang drive trains for '11, I've been eagerly awaiting their arrival on my local Ford lots. I just couldn't believe that the "base" V6 Mustang was getting a 6 speed!

Finally, they're popping up on the lots here.

Last Saturday I snuck down to one of the dealers to get a look. My excitement was quickly doused when I read the parts content for one of the stick cars... Engine: USA, Transmission: CHINA.

China? Really? It's enough that the computer I'm writing this on and my TV and most of my other electronics are made in China, but now my beloved American icon puts its power to the road by way of China? I suppose that to be cost effective, considering the low demand for manuals cited in the other postings above, it makes sense to save a little money. Symbolically, though, it just seems wrong. I'm sure most will look past this and buy it anyway. Will the engines be next?

Personally, I would be willing to spend a little more to get a T-56, or at least a Getrag from Germany (my Mini has a Getrag and it's a fine transmission). As is, if I really want a new Mustang, I'll probably have to get an automatic; at least they're made in the USA....
Lance B 05/06/2010
For a performance machine the dual clutch transmission is the way of the future, and I observe that many stick shift iconoclasts are now conceding the point. The Mustang and the Cobra need to offer a variation of the Taurus transmission if they want to be considered to be true performance machines. I owned and drove a Mustang when the term "muscle car" was invented, and believe me it was about speed, not being macho. Who could get to the next red light first.
Ford learned the lesson of trying to market an underpowered V8 Mustang. They'll learn the lesson all over again if the other muscle car mfgs. beat them to punch.
Personally, I think the true stick shift should be the one offered as an option as well as the dual clutch, and let the consumer make the choice.
barko 05/05/2010
I'm with the rest, or most of you who want a stick in anything I buy. But all of us here making the manual argument are such a small piece of the car buying pie that its not cost effective to put the development $$$$ into manual transmissions for the 5% of the cars sold. Its for the same reason over here in north america we don't see hardly any of the true enthusiast vehicles that are produced (Abarth, Wild Type R civics, ST Focus & Mondeo, Full VW R Range, and its Sirroco, list is endless) . There simply isn't enough demand for companies to make money offering enthusiast options on all models. You would still find less than 5% of raptors sold optioned with a stick, likewise with the top line fusion. If I want an enthusiast oriented all wheel drive vehicle I would be looking at an A4, or WRX. Years ago they offered a stick in the LS Lincoln and predicted less than 2% would be optioned like that, the stick option was dropped. Getrag built it, Ford did not develop or build an all new transmission for it because it would not have yielded any profits.
The SHO has a pretty impressive piece of transmission kit, that automatic will actually blip the throttle on downshifts, also has way more power than the passat and all wheel drive, plus options like sync. people these days would rather talk and text their friends and navigate their I pod on a touch screen than a gearbox.

My top preference will be and will always be a true three pedal manual. I hate to say this but the demand just isn't there, and as mentioned above more and more people never learn to operate a clutch. You will find your choices are going to be further and further limited. Automakers are not going to offer options, or develop technology that will not make them a profit; after all they are still operating a business. So, for example, development, and tooling factories to build a 6 speed manual for an all wheel drive V6 transversely mounted set up that will account for say 2-3% of fusion sales does not make business sense. Look at a couple enthusiast brands, audi, bmw. Only the A4 and front drive A3 have manuals, the TT doesn't have a true manual. The 1 and 3 BMW's, you can option a base 5 with a manual, the auto is standard, but you'd have to order it and wait forever to get it, then good luck with any sort of resale value. The next generation BMW 1 is going to be front wheel drive, why? Because over 70% of the people driving them think their cars are already front wheel drive, and its cheaper to manufacture. Dealers are not going to stock what doesn't sell (95% of fords as mentioned at the top are auto), and manuals don't sell, its a business, they are there to make money, the dealer principle doesn't care what ratio of manual to automatic vehicles go out the door, the dealer principle cares about the gross on the cars going out the door.

Bottom line, North America is not an automotive Enthusiasts market. Example, the last "hot" focus was the SVT, Europe had that too, called it the ST, but also had a wilder little RS with over 200hp. They still have a Volvo i5 turbo'd (i think 230ish hp) ST focus with racing seats and the whole kit, wild little car.
There are not enough of us true petrol heads left over here to justify manuals anymore. It pains me to say that.
Paul R 05/05/2010
I would have to agree with the manual lovers. I, too, despise driving cars with an automatic transmission. I don't like dual clutch sequentials 1/10 as much as I like driving stick shifts. If Ford plans to continue offering stick shifts for the Mustang, Focus and Fiesta, then that's good. I'd hate to say it, but my family has always been preferable to Ford back since my great grandfather owned a Ford dealership, and my brother is a Ford salesman, and if Ford doesn't offer the car I want in a stick shift, I would go elsewhere, even if I like the Ford better in every other way. I would also agree that a stick shift Fusion and Taurus (especially the SHO) would be appealing, but I could understand the smaller market for those. I'll just have to look to other companies for a mid-sized sedan with a stick shift.
Andy Birkel 05/04/2010
To be honest it is an absolute shame that the option to shift your own gears has been completely removed from the F150 line up as well as other vehicles. This article should have been "Automatic Transmissions and a Blurb about Manuals". I don't know who said it above but Ford would own the market if it came out with sticks in certain models. Another one stated that they should be offered in the higher end models which I absolutely agree with. One thing to note is that I didn't see to many responses, if at all, supporting an automatic.

Think outside the box Ford and don't play follow the leader and drop manual transmissions from the line up, start adding them to different ones and become the new leader.
Nadia 05/04/2010
tachnometer please - so bummed when taken out of ford focus! Manual - please - I love the feeling of passing those trucks - of having that omph when I need it.
Ben 05/04/2010
I agree so much that all cars should have manny tranis.
Here's what cars should have in manual:
Fusion V6 AWD and FWD
Transit Connect w/ or w/o Diesel
ALL F-Series
Taurus SHO
2011 Explorer
2011 Edge Sport
Alexandra 05/03/2010
I agree with a lot of the statements above, including C Miller who seems to sum up the main reason I purchase manuals, and would not go back to an automatic - Control. There are many situations that I can think of, that my manual has saved me from getting into an accident.
I learned on an automatic, but soon after, my mom taught me to drive a manual, and not because I needed to, to have a car. Since then I have tried to drive a manual as often as I can and even switched trucks with my dad, so I could drive a manual. The excuse I used was for towing stuff home from college. That winter I had the experience of driving a 2002 automatic ranger and a 2000 manual ranger in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Lots of snow, lots of hills makes for interesting conditions, and I would take his 2000 ranger over my 2002 ranger any day... If fact I sold mine, and probably wouldn't have if it had been a manual. I now have a job where I do a lot of driving (42K in a year and a half) , and have since then waited the 10 to 12 weeks for my manual Fusion with Sync. I love it, but want the same options in Escape or Ranger. Sync is great with a manual because of the hands free, when both of your hands are occupied. Sync is considered a special package and isn't offered with the manual in the Escape, and you can't tow with the manual either (according to the brochures). My family is a ford family, but when I don't see a manual that I can tow with, I do start looking at other options.
Right now my husband and I only have one vehicle out of four that is an automatic, and we are planning on getting rid of that and getting a new one to replace it in a year or two. The replacement will definitely be a manual. I hope Ford has an option for me then.
Thank you for taking the time to set up this site, and I hope you can come up with options so I and others can keep buying Ford. It will be extremely disappointing if you don't, because the people at work will make fun of me, since I am always bragging about my Fords.
Frank 05/02/2010
The difference between a stick shift and an automatic is the difference between "driving" and "steering."
I really think if more of today's young drivers were exposed to manuals they would actually prefer them -- especially guys. What 20 something male driver would prefer an automatic? I just don't get it.
Richard Truett 04/30/2010
Thanks for your questions, Kyle.
I'm Richard Truett, Ford's Powertrain Communications Manager. Here's some answers:

Q: How committed is Ford to continuing to offer traditional manuals? You're doing great currently, with the Mustang, Focus, Fusion and Fiesta all having them and I hope that will continue.

A: We will continue to offer manual transmissions in vehicles where there is consumer demand or where a manual transmission is expected in the segment for a vehicle to be competitive. A good example would be the 2011 Mustang, which features and all new six-speed manual. We are also committed to offering traditional manual transmissions in our small cars, such as the new 2011 Fiesta, which is available with a 5-speed manual. The optional transmission is the Fiesta is the new six-speed dual clutch automatic which combines the best traits of an automatic with those of a manual. And it's that innovative new transmission which gives the 2011 Fiesta its expected best in class EPA fuel economy rating of 40 mpg on the highway.

Q: What are the current sales splits for automatic vs. manual on those models?

A: In North America, 95 percent of all the vehicles we sell have automatic transmissions. Demand for manual transmissions continues to decline. In the last decade alone, demand for manual transmissions has dropped 22 percent in North America.

Q: Nissan's SynchroRev technology is interesting, though it seems like cheating too. Is Ford developing anything similar to this?

A: Ford is in the midst of launching 30 new or upgraded powertrains by 2013 -- and transmissions account for big part of that number. 2010 is not even half over yet and we've already launched a new, fuel-efficient six-speed automatic for the Super Duty pickup, two new six-speed transmissions for the Mustang, as well as a new dual clutch transmission for the Fiesta. And there's more coming. All our new transmissions weigh less, generate less internal friction and help deliver better fuel economy than the gearboxes they replace. We're making major investments in our transmissions and, yes, more exciting news in this area is coming in the future. Stay tuned.

Q: In the near future, can you see the automatic option actually costing less than the traditional manual? It's typically been that the manual is cheaper, but with probably 90%+ of cars being spec'd with automatics, that could change.

A: While we don't speculate about pricing on powertrains in future models, it is reasonable to assume that as technologies shared between manuals and automatics get closer, prices could too.
Max Smith 04/27/2010
The reason why there is a drop in the numbers of manual transmissions bought over the years is that dealers do not stock many of them, and urge customers to buy from stock! Every Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealer should be required to have sales representatives know how to drive a manual transmission as a condition of employment, in order to teach customers who want to know, how to drive a stick. GM & Chrysler won't do that, and that gives Ford a unique selling advantage. Offer manual transmissions in upscale models, not just the base lines. Also put a tachometer in every manual car, and explain in the owner's manual the advantage of depressing the clutch and shifting to neutral to coast up to a red light every time. Doing that improves the EPA city mileage in my 5 speed Escort from 28 to 31 mpg consistently.
Robert Hoffman 04/26/2010
Iam 58 and have been driving since 1968 and never learned how to drive a stick, who is still teaching this art? What % of the world still does the stick? I think I perfer auto.
Viking 04/26/2010
For me, a manual transmission is what makes me buy or not a said vehicle. It's the only way to go !!
Tom Sansoni 04/25/2010
I always downshift with the 4 speed auto. in my 04 F159 with the hills on the back roads I drive in this state. This is with loads. It is matched with the 4.6. I would prefer the F150 with a 6 speed manual, on the short hauls. Not much snow in this area as I can live with the auto trans. However,
I am with many of the other Ford truck owners in saying, bring back and keep the 6 speed manual as an option on Ford Trucks,diesel and gas
matthew a todd 04/25/2010
I'm not one of the 22% that has gone to automatics over the past decade. I hate automatics, they are guaranteed failures eventually. Give me a gearbox in anything/everything, I don't care if I sound dorky or not. I have an '08 Focus and an '87 F150 and they're both manuals. It's all I'll have end of story. Now, if the "no gasoline required model" doesn't offer/require it--fine, because that is what I'm really waiting on, and I don't care how the powertrain operates.
Debby 04/24/2010
I've been an employee of F ord for almost 34 years now, which means I buy Ford products. I've watched the market for traditional manual transmissionsvirtually disappear. I buy only manual, but the picking are getting slim.

I remember learning to drive my first vehicle in 1974, a Ford F-150 manual tranny. Most all my cars since then have been manual with a real clutch. I've had Mavericks, many Thunderbirds (still own my 1994 T-Bird Super Coupe with 5 speed manual) and too many Mustangs to remember. One of my favorite manual transmission vehicles was my 1988 ThunderBird Turbo Coupe. My first car purchase was a used 1972 Chevy Nova with a three on the tree (manual stick shift on the column).

I currently drive a 5 speed Mustang Mach 1. It is my everyday car. Yes I drive it through the harsh Ohio winters.

I once had a 1977 Mustang 3 door hatchback that had a 4 speed manual. Sure it ony had 4 cylinders, but it was as good on gas as it was to drive.

Sure I'd like to update my vehicle and purchase a newer model Mustang, but I know I'll only get frustrated because the pikin's are slim for those of us who want maual powertrain. So sadly, I will continue to drive my Mach 1.

Come on Ford, give us some choices. Some of us are bored to tears driving automatic transmissions.

One more thing to note: Being that fewer and fewer young kids can drive manual transmissions, it is less likely my car will be stolen! Gotta love that.
Shad 04/24/2010
It's understandable that a business would not want to make an investment in the dwindling market for a seemingly dying technology such as the foot actuated clutch and the manual gear shifter. Especially when you consider that those individuals who prefer automatics probably also prefer other mark-up options ($), like infotainment systems, parking assist, lane drift/correction systems, or anything else that removes the driver from the act of driving...

The two problems I see with moving away from manual transmission technology are: 1) enthusiasts like them, and enthusiasts are the best free advertising and marketing you can have, and 2) in this litigious society where everyone has eschewed all personal responsibility for anything, is it wise to propagate a situation where drivers are more and more removed from the act of driving? If anything we should be running a publicity and education campaign for how to drive manual transmission cars. I'll volunteer to teach!
Chris 04/23/2010
I like the idea of the dualclutch auto trans, but I miss the thrill of shifting up and down on a plain 5speed manual. Also Nissan has the syncrorev transmission on their 370z and that is pretty good way to maximize bhp and torque of the car I would love to see something similar on the 2011 ford focus rs which is suppose to finally come to America. Another
thing I like is the shifttronic dual steering wheel mounted paddle shifters I had much fun test driving the recet lancer from Mitsubishi, the ford fiesta might benefit from that. Now only if my 2005 mercury sable ls could have a manual transmission swap. Since the older automatic transmission sucks up so much gas and the shifts take too up to upshift from a stop.
Allch Chcar 04/23/2010
That's a shame that you say that "whoever you are that is representing Ford." Because manual transmissions have always been the most efficient transmissions. The only advantage that DCT has is that it is just as efficient as a manual transmission, not better. And you're never going to get the same driver control from an automatic unless you throw money and time at the problem. The EPA drive cycle has been designed for Automatic transmissions for years, we know the gearing is taller on automatics and has been. On the road manual transmission version will always get the same or better mileage depending on the driving style.

The only thing better than a Manual transmission is a one speed and that's not practical with an ICE. The CVT doesn't give any control over RPM. Until something better than a Manual transmission with a foot controlled clutch we still think Manuals are worth it.
Edward S 04/23/2010
I have owned nothing but manual-transmission cars up to this point in my life, but now that I'm married, my wife has declared an ultimatum that my next car must be an automatic. A dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters would be a reasonable compromise for me. The control and performance when I want it, and convenience and ease-of-use when commuting, or when someone unfamiliar with a manual needs to drive it. I hope a PowerShift with paddle shifters will be offered as an option on the 2012 Focus ST 5-door with the 2.0 EcoBoost. I'll take one...maybe two. :-)
JASON 04/22/2010
I agree with C Miller above. I am very interested in purchasing the SHO Taurus, until I have found it is not available in a standard manual transmission. This is a sporty car with a lot of power and Ford is taking away the sport of the car by not offering a standard manual transmission. I currently drive a 2006 Volkswagon Passatt that is a standard. I had a 2003 Passatt that was a standard. Now that I'm looking again and very proud of Ford coming through the economic challenges, I want to buy from Ford but Ford is not offering me what I want and like. I can get the new VW CC and get that in a standard manual transmission. I would hands down buy the Ford Taurus if it was available in a standard manual transmission. By reading the above statements, I believe Ford is forgetting about a large number of people that prefer to not drive an automatic. It is not the same, and please don't try to tell me that it is. The driving experience is just not the same. I hope Ford decides to offer more transmission options in the future rather than 100% of the vehicles to be automatic. I will wait to see if Ford wises up to buy my next car, because I love the new Taurus. I really hope Ford makes the right decision for all consumers.
W.Daniels 04/22/2010
with the dry clutch and lossing the fluid pumps sounds like the automated shift standard transmissions used in the 18 wheelers for years. Verry good untill the computer contorlling the show gets confused and you are left sitting. At best along side the road, at least blocking the road. Over all, sounds good. As an over the road truck driver i have loged over 125,000 miles per year for over 6 years,with the automated shift standard transmissions and verry pleased with how fun they are to drive. Hope Ford dots all there i"s and crosses there t's on this one. Other wise it will come back to bite them. The company i work for no longer purchases the automated shift manual transmision(automatic thats what we call them.), Repair cost to high.
Jim 04/22/2010
it's nice that you guys have changed to the six speed automatics they are much better to drive. And Im glad to see the improvements you guys made to the Super Dutys because my 04 6.0 f350 was way better than my 08 6.4 f350 on fuel. But C miller is right the only thing you guys offer in a real manual that has some options is a diesel F series or a ranger or a mustang. How much better the lightning could have been a manual? Alot better i bet a lot of people would say. Manuals if you know how to drive them are more reliable than most automatics and are funner to drive. And I think the fusion would be a lot better if it had a manual for its other models than just the SE it is more like a bigger base model Ford Focus it has very few options and is by far no way near as nice. And for me who lives in new england i would rather have a awd fusion but there is no option for a manual and its hard to say i want one when i can go get an A4 that has the manual.
Jason F 04/22/2010
You can make several persuasive arguements about the superiority of the double-clutchers with regards to performance or whatever, but it just isn't the same as having control of the transmission. Isn't as fun, or challenging, or engaging, or enjoyable. I want the clutch pedal and I want engage whatever gear I choose with what engine rev I choose. I want to throw gears and control the clutch. I want to clutch-coast with the engine idling for fuel economy (which I don't think that your EPA numbers reflect).

I want to enjoy driving, not win the 24 hours of le Mans. And all the flappy paddle shifters or sequential blip shifting automatics won't beat the fun and engagement of a good manual.

As it stands now, I would choose the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT over the Fusion Sport for the simple reason that Subaru offers the manual with the premium package, not just the base engine and interior options like the Fusion. The Mustang would be great and all, but not for a daily driver wife and 2 kids car.

Is it that big of a deal to just offer the manual with the nice seats and premium engine? I'll special order it and wait 6 weeks. I'm patient.
John Williams 04/22/2010
I very strongly agree with your 3rd paragraph. 6.2 Raptor with a 6 speed? Perfect for towing my future 2011 5.0 Mustang 6 speed to the track with!
2b2 04/22/2010
not "merely" the best of both worlds but MORE Efficient and Quicker...
...make mine a PowerShift/DCT
R Peterson 04/22/2010
Like others here, I think Ford is missing the point... and after all, isn't that why they developed a site like this, to get REAL feedback.

You can make the argument that today an advanced automatic may achieve slightly, slightly better mileage than a manual transmission, but for most individuals requesting more manuals, that is not really the primary issue.

There central issue is, there is a desire to have more control over vehicles, whether a car or truck, and to enjoy the feeling of having that control. I have tried a lot of semi-manual Tiptronic type transmissions, and in NO way do they approach the feeling of having a true manual.

The other issue is that Ford and other car companies can say "sure, we offer manual transmissions", but having a manual option for only the base model, especially in a sportier car isn't fulfilling expectations or desires.

Trucks are also desperately in need of manual options. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a situation with a big truck when the automatic bugged the crap out of me... and I sooo wanted a manual instead.

C Miller and GearJammer are right on the money. There is nothing wrong with double clutch systems, six speeds, or advanced automatics, but PLEASE have more traditional manuals for real enthusiasts in top-level cars.
GearJammer 04/22/2010
I'd be happy to drive a Ford, but for now, I have to go to a European marque for a car that's fun to drive, can haul a bunch of stuff and is comfy and quiet. By fun I mean manual transmission, no fakey "automanual" nonsense, and some pep (twin turbos are good!). By "haul my stuff" I mean a midsize car (or for me, a wagon for hauling kayaks, occasional lumber, etc). Comfy and quiet are pretty obvious. Leather, heated seats, low wind noise, etc.

Manuals offer more choice for fuel economy as well. I can beat the EPA numbers by about 15% in pretty much any vehicle with a manual transmission, just with some simple techniques. Automatics don't offer this flexibility.

C Miller gets it right. The profitable market for manuals is not the people who can't afford an automatic. It's the people who like to drive and feel more connected to the vehicle. There's no reason the grocery getter can't be engaging and fun to drive.
John W 04/22/2010
The dual clutch transmission is proven to perofrm better than both traditional manuals and traditional automatics. Also, as a company, it makes a lot of sense to develope only 1 transmission. The problem is the user interface. The dual clutch that is to go into the Fiesta will just have the standard P-R-N-D control stick and look just like any other car, ho-hum. Most people will have no idea that there is something special about there transmission. The people who lke manuals (like myself) will be dissapointed at the loss of control. There isn't even an option for paddle shifters. I recommend that every car be equipped or have an option for paddleshifters (maybe even a plug-n-play device that could be installed at the dealership?). You could market the similarity to a formula car transmission. Secondly, I recommend a different shifter to highlight that this is different technology, perhaps steering wheel mounted buttons? You could even make it look and move like a manual shifter, except with a separate spot for D. For thirds, I recommend an option for a clutch pedal. This could be used for coming off the line, in first gear. Shifting to other gears could be done automatically or manually with paddles or the shifter.
Pat Doody 04/22/2010
You/we need a 5/6 speed stick in the new F150 ecoboost for 2011. I have owned 6 stick shift pick-ups 5 fords and my dodge - because ford did not offer in 2004. Please put a stick in the new 150 so I can come back to ford. - Thanks
C Miller 04/21/2010
Thanks for the story, but unfortunately, you don't understand the manual transmission customer and frankly, completely under-estimate the percentage to capture with this type of offering on small to midsize sedans/coupes, sports cars, and offroad SUVs and trucks. A large majority of the standard transmission customer desire it for control and a small minority for... well, something to do. :D

Firstly, I think it is not proper to state that the 6-spd automatic transmissions obtain better fuel economy than the manual equivalent. We know that this is not true and it is only the 'skew' of the test to measure street and highway numbers. The fact is that a novice driver can get better numbers with the 6-spd manual than the auto. The test to calculate this number does not align with real life drivers. It's like standardized testing in schools... geniouses have been known to fail them (these standard tests). It is not a fair measurement.

Secondly, the customer has been transformed, shifting the customer on the spectrum for the vehicle configuration with manual transmission. What I mean by this relates back to the comment about 'who desires the standard transmission.' It's not fuel economy, it's control and excitement. Currently, it is really only offered on base units. Who would like a Fusion I-4 SE? Or, who would like an F-150 V-6 XL respectively? Nobody, that's who. This manual transmission customer would like the manual on the 3.5L AWD Fusion Sport or 6.2L F-150 Raptor. This cusomer wants, needs, desires the top of the line powertrain and driveline, NOT THE BASE! Because of this, Ford thinks there is no customers for manual transmission, which is wrong, dead wrong.

Finally, and personally, I have been driven out of the Ford truck market. They took manual out of the F-150 in the late 90's for V8 and completely recently, and now it has been taken out of the Superduty, completely. What a shame. Where do we go now? Noone else offers manual transmission either. Oh, what did I say? Wait a minute... you mean now if Ford put manuals in trucks, SUVs, medium and small sedans and coupes as a stand alone option they would own the market for this? That seems like a reason to do it. Ford could capture the competitive customer as well and triple this type of customer just with the domesitic competition alone. Hmmm. Time to rethink this Ford Motor Company. Don't let us go.
Nick Bezy 04/21/2010
I love the fact that you are now switching to six speeds, manual and automatic. But, I have a question. For the six-speed dual clutch automatic, why don't you use paddle shifters on the steering wheel instead of a button on the shifting lever for manual control? I really don't think that it would cost a whole lot more, if any. I for one think that this would make the driving experiance much more enjoyable. For me, that would be a game changer and would be the difference between buying an automatic over a manual. Especially so in the 2012 focus. Just my say, but good job anyway.
Kyle Rohde 04/21/2010
Good stuff Ford - thanks. I believe three pedals can't be substituted by paddles/computers, no matter how good the dual-clutch and other similar systems get. I think I'd still rather have a traditional manual, even with small penalties to all-out performance and fuel mileage, and maybe additional cost too. I've got a few questions that maybe you could answer in a follow-up:
- How committed is Ford to continuing to offer traditional manuals? You're doing great currently, with the Mustang, Focus, Fusion and Fiesta all having them and I hope that will continue.
- What are the current sales splits for automatic vs. manual on those models?
- Nissan's SynchroRev technology is interesting, though it seems like cheating too. Is Ford developing anything similar to this?
- In the near future, can you see the automatic option actually costing less than the traditional manual? It's typically been that the manual is cheaper, but with probably 90%+ of cars being spec'd with automatics, that could change.

Dave 04/21/2010
For me the choice between manual and automatic transmissions comes down to vehicle use. In my SUV I have a manual 6-speed for better control off road. In sports cars I prefer a regular clutch gearbox because it's more fun, even though a dual-clutch system is faster on the track.

I like automatics for comfortable street cars and luxury cars. I would certainly go for an automatic in a Mercury or Lincoln as well as most the Ford street cars. If it was something like a Mustang I would want a standard manual because it's just more fun for me.