The highly anticipated Toyota Supra has just debuted and the Internet is already enraged about many things, one of which is the fact that the revived sports car isn’t available with a manual transmission.
A year ago, Tetsuya Tada, Toyota’s chief engineer for the Supra and 86, said that a manual “makes perfect sense” and promised that he’d try his hardest to include one. Instead, the RWD two-seater has an eight-speed automatic.
Not all hope is lost, however. Speaking at a roundtable with reporters at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Tada-san said that a manual is still being considered.
Speaking through an interpreter, he said, “I’m very aware of the requests and needs for a manual transmission out there, but with the new sports automatic transmission, I am very satisfied with the results of the performance of this transmission system. It is completely different from any other automatic transmission that has been released.”
He added that “If there is a persistent, overwhelming demand still for a manual transmission, a sports car in itself [will] inherently improve and to continue to improve when those kinds of things will be considered. Obviously, if the mass market demand is there, it would be something that would have to be considered. It depends on the right timing,” he said, adding that manual transmission Supras have been in “test development phases.”
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Robert Carter, Toyota North America’s Executive Vice President, added that “We’re going to respond to consumers,” but did remind us that the sales of manual transmission cars are infinitesimal in North America.
So, if you want a manual transmission Supra, start sending your letters to Toyota right now and go out and buy more cars with manual transmissions, which sends a strong message that people still want them. Right now, a manual Supra is still a possibility, but it wouldn’t be wise to hold your breath on this one.
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