No Manual Transmission for the C8 Corvette According to Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter

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No Manual Transmission for the C8 Corvette According to Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter


Don’t expect the manual transmission ever to make a comeback in the Chevrolet Corvette.

At least that’s the word from Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, who says Chevy couldn’t find anybody willing to manufacture such a transmission for the new mid-engine Stingray.

Not that there are really that many folks who will be upset with that news.

Indeed, Juechter says only about 15 percent of C7s were outfitted with the 7-speed manual transmission. “Every year it goes down, down, down, down,” he said.

Think back to the 1970s. The number of automatic transmission-equipped Corvettes started to climb back then when the car morphed into more of a luxury cruiser, and it’s continued to grow ever since.

Today, “it’s 15 percent (manuals) on cars like the Z06, which historically have been only a manual,” Juechter told Motor Authority. “And as soon as we offer the automatic, everybody buys the automatic.”

Ironically, that trend goes against what is happening at Porsche, where North America CEO Klaus Zellmer says two out of three buyers of the 911 GT3 are still choosing manuals.

Juechter knows his Corvette customers, though, and insists the days of shifting gears for yourself are over starting with the C8.

“It’s a dying business,” he said. “The people who make a living building manual transmissions, they see that it’s not a bright future for them. It’s low volume, very expensive. The reason is it’s a low-volume industry. That industry is dying – building manual transmissions.”

Of course, when you have what appears to be such a winning replacement for the manual – the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission – why fight a losing battle, Chevy figures.

Not that it was easy to come up with the DCT transmission.

“We don’t just find a DCT, an 8-speed DCT that plugs into this architecture with the right dimensions,” Juechter said.

Fitting a transaxle-style transmission and placing the new LT2 engine lower in the C8 led to special challenges developing the DCT, he said.

“That puts huge burden on the transmission, too, because it can’t have a deep sump either, so all the oil management, everything is super slammed,” Juechter said. “The belting, the transmission, figuring out how to cool it, there’s a ton of complexity around that. That’s one of the equations we had to solve.”

An equation that wound up not including a manual option.


Source:
MotorAuthority.com

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Guess what …. no manual transmission option knocks me out of the field for buying a C8! I’ve owned 7 Corvettes from 1977 through my current 2014 Stingray and all but one was manual shifted. Looks like GM just lost a Corvette loyal buyer!

  2. Sorry, Tadge. I don’t care if it can shift faster than I can.

    If I can’t row the gears myself, I’m not buying.

    And no, flappy paddles on the column don’t count.

  3. I understand dropping the manual, but am disappointed that the 10-spd A/T developed jointly by Chevrolet and Ford was not used. No doubt it was obviated by powertrain configuration and lack of space. Real shame, because the 10-spd is almost magical. In this video you can see how perfect it is on the drag strip; the Mustang just goes, while streetspeed 717’s ZR1 is hampered by clutch-flub and shifting that obviously is slower than the A/T: https://youtu.be/Ke4ZaDpQ75Q
    You can search for SS717’s video and see how much time was wasted shifting. 300 more horsepower got the ZR1 a higher trap speed, but he lost the (first) race. Chevrolet is more interested in winning than pacifying a handful of people who love to shift (I’m one of them).

  4. Ugh, Tadge said the dirty word… “cooling.” Lets pray and hope the C8 DCT doesn’t have the same overheating issues that have consistently plagued the C7 A8 transmissions…even the 19 C7 ZO6’s A8 Trans continue to overheat at the track. Not to mention an ongoing A8 related Class Action Law Suit.
    Please don’t let this pesky cooling and quality issues carry over to the DCT, especially since it now appears to be the sole option for the C8.
    JB

  5. I’m one of those 15%ers! As a new C7 2017 Stingray owner and a future 1963 Split window Stingray buyer, both with a manual transmission, I think the decision not to ever make the C8 with a manual is a huge mistake for the Brand. I am considering the C8 Stingray based on my love for Corvette, but learning that it won’t ever carry a manual transmission, may push me to the 911 Porsche! Say it ain’t so Tadge! Please. The artwork in the design of the C7 and the new and beautiful C8, begs for the option (for the 15 percent) of a manual. Please reconsider this decision. Please.

  6. I would still get the C8 Grand Sport with the 8-speed DCT. There is a switch I believe where the driver can choose to go Manual by using the paddle shifters; just switch the drive mode and it’s available. And then there’s something called the Z-mode, which is found by Car and Driver: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a28410775/2020-chevy-corvette-c8-z-mode/

    While I will miss slamming the gears in the gate and damn near standing on the clutch, if the DCT means I can win more races, I will still buy it.

  7. You feel my pain John Wolfe. No manual tranny might be a deal breaker for any sports car I buy. I’ve had cars with tiptronic, autostick, paddle shifters, etc. and none give me the control over the engine like a good clutch and stick. I’ll need to drive the C8 DCT but if its like all other manumatics we’re losing one dimension in the joy of driving a performance car. Sure the ECU might shift faster than a human but that misses the whole point.

    And if Tadge is correct that stick & clutch drivers are a dying breed, man’s left foot may well atrophy and become useless. Left foot braking anyone?

  8. With such a small minority of manual shift buyers Chevrolet isn’t worried about sales. The C-8 is designed to be an everyday car loaded with conveniences. The manual shifts of the past were creatures of special use. Can one imagine stuck in a traffic jamb moving very slow with many stop intervals with your right leg about to go numb or fall off ? Old muscle 427s, few had air conditioning. Look at the thought of no a/c in a new transport. Times are a changing. I welcome the latest technology automatics. Drag strips are probably 95% automatics.

  9. Well Mr Wolf, pretty sure GM could care less what you think. When a auto can do the job better and more efficiently hell yes. Even the foreign exotics are getting on the bandwagon. Shifting is kinda fun for awhile but it gets old real quick. 15% is a very small amount to pacify.

  10. The quote in the above article was about no more manual transmission, it was: “Not that there are really that many folks who will be upset with that news” The HELL we won’t !!! That is the soul of a Sports Car” We have this rush to make the Corvette an all electronic trophy vehicle, that does everything for you, and try to eliminate the connection between driver and machine. Corvette will probably be the first real self-driving car, because today’s owners don’t want to be bothered with anything that contributes to how the car responds.
    The C8, what it is now, is probably a fine car for people who want that type of car, but for me, it just wouldn’t seem like a real Corvette. I have owned the C1 to C6 generations, all were great cars in their own time, and still hold up well today. I am considering buying a C7, and experience the last of the breed. while I have a chance…and a choice

  11. The C8 is the car I’ve been waiting for. With the mid-engine & DCT transmission this car is going to have, it’s going to be the best Corvette yet. The funny thing is the C7 has converted just as many standard trans people that the C8 will change to the DCT. If I don’t get a 570S, then I will be bringing home a C8 Z51.

  12. By chosing not to have a manual option, you have made the new Corvette into a soy boy b**ch mobile; and anyone I see driving one will be considered a punk.

    The marketing team completely dropped the ball on this one. It’s the enthusiasts (manual transmission drivers) that set the trends for cars, not the mob (A/T). So when the enthusiastic labels the Corvette as a punk b**ch car the mob will follow suit.

  13. I’, on my 5th Corvette and I do prefer manual tranny’s. I’ve had 3 manuals & 2 autos. Lots of hills where AI live. I just like to row my own boat. However, that won’t stop my from buying the C8.

  14. I own a C6 GS that is a manual trans.
    I feel so much more connected to the car when I decide what gear I should be in. Love to hear the headers pop when I downshift. Gave up the satellite radio so it didn’t interfere with the music coming from the long tube headers. Love my six speed hotrod!

  15. J gwodz +1. With all the orgasms over the C8 what was GM thinking when they came up with the massive side radiators which draw even more attention by the large black trim piece! With yet more creases the side view of the C8 looks very busy indeed. Compared to the flowing muscular styling of the C7, theC8 looks like a hack job.

  16. A dual clutch is an automatically shifted manual transmission. It does not use hydraulics like a traditional automatic transmission.

  17. I’m with John Wolfe.
    Fifteen percent of about 30,000 sales/year (rough average for the C7) is 4,500 potential buyers that Chevy is saying they do not care about. At, say, $75,000 average /car, Chevy is gambling that about $335,000,000+ of potential sales/buyers per year either will not mind switching to their DCT, or will be replaced by buyers who do not care that they cannot get a manual.
    Here’s the thing: I appreciate the engineering beauty of the DCT, but it is simply not what I want.
    • I like to accelerate fast, but doing that as fast as a manual can go is my preference – and safer, and more fun — because I am more engaged with the car when I am using both feet.
    • My 2016 Corvette is not a ZR1, a Z06, a Grand Sport. It is a Stingray. I have never done a burn-out with it, and probably never will. In fact, my last car had the original clutch (working just fine), after nearly 250,000 miles. Maybe I am an outlier, but not having the fastest model does not mean that I am not a highly-engaged, manual-preferring driver.
    • I have driven my Corvette over 70,000 miles in just over three years. Fewer than two hundred (200) of those miles have been with Auto Rev Matching turned on, because Auto Rev Matching is a gimmick that feels too much like driving an automatic. Like any automatic, it is another step toward a self-driving car.
    • I drive my Corvette for fun, not to work. I have driven it from Canada to Florida, and from the East Coast to the West Coast. I think of my Corvette as a grand touring car. On long trips, I like to leave the Interstates behind occasionally and drive the curvy back roads that call in every state and province.
    • Every car that I have bought in the past forty years has had a manual transmission. In fact, I have always started my car-shopping experience by asking this question first: Is a manual available? If not, I move on to another brand.
    So when my C7 ultimately wears out – and I will wear it out some day – I will start shopping again by asking what sports cars are available with a manual transmission. Hopefully there will still be manual Caymans, 911s, Miatas, and others. But as much of a masterpiece as the C8 is, it seems that I will not be replacing my Corvette C7 with a Corvette C8.

  18. I get and understand the love affair with a manual transmission. There is nothing like dropping a gear and hitting the gas. There is a connection. You are part of the car instead of a passenger in it. I was in the same boat. I am looking at C6 GS’s. And for the longest time, if it didn’t have a manual, I wasn’t looking at it. My circumstances have changed. I am now in an area where I will drive it daily. And this area has some of the worst traffic due to poor infrastructure. I would be burning up clutches left and right. It doesn’t matter how good you are. You will build up heat in the tranny when in frequent traffic jam scenarios. I love the manual…but I have to consider costs as well.

    Consider the early racers and drivers who had to control just about every aspect of the cars function. Controlling things that we take for granted today. Like hand throttles, choke, spark timing, multiple pedals for gear changes in addition to clutch, hand brakes, etc…The cars seemed to need 3 or 4 hands in order to operate. and yet some of these drivers were just in tune with the car and were able to dance appropriately in order to make them perform. Those drivers would scoff at us and how easy we have it. And they had to make the transition to cars that took care of much of that….and so must we. We have a connection to the car despite not having the amount of control that earlier drivers had. Isn’t it possible we can still have a connection despite the changes coming???

    While the lack of a manual is…disappointing…I would caution people to not make a decision before driving the C8. Paddles are not the same as throwing a shifter, but they can be engaging. Especially when set up like they have on the C8. Most paddle shifters on production cars have algorithms that won’t let you shift in specific ways. But from what I have read…go ahead and break hard into the corner, drop 2 gears, and mash the throttle.

    I think what stood out to me the most was not about buyers who won’t care…but rather that they COULD NOT FIND ANYONE TO BUILD A MANUAL TRANSMISSION. We can gain several things form this. Manual builders did not want to invest the money to develop a transmission for the C8. The size, strength, cooling, and, most importantly, cost requirements were too difficult to overcome to make it feasible. So why didn’t Chevy design their own. Probably for the same reasons.

    Lets assume for a minute, that someone did create a manual for the C8. This means added costs for development, added costs for production, added costs for assembly lines, added costs for testing. All of this means added costs for US, the consumer. Consider how much more you would be willing to pay to have a manual option. Yes the manual usually costs less than an automatic. But if we add all the costs mentioned, the base model will have to increase in price regardless of transmission. So if no one was willing to develop and build a manual for the C8, that development would be VERY expensive. Would you pay 5K, 10K, 15K+ above the current base price? Who knows how much this could add. And this price is across the board. So the 85% who don’t buy a manual will also have to pay that premium. The base price moves out of many who would have purchased otherwise. In the end, the numbers do not outpace the risk.

    It IS disappointing. But that doesn’t mean you should not buy the car. All I am saying is try it before making up your mind. Don’t let yourself be caught up in extremes. if you don’t like it…then you don’t like it…no one says you have to. But at least you are making a decision based on experience and not assumption.

  19. Let’s think about this for a second. A C8 with no manual transmission? Just when Chevy is slated to hit a home run with the C8, they forget their best bat at home. The reason folks buy 911’s is surely not for their horsepower, but more for how engaging the car is to drive. Most don’t even turn on the radio, the MT is such a joy. I hope Chevy reconsiders this decision, that is partially why the NSX is NOT the success story we all hoped. No MT! Not offering it is the kiss of death of any true sports car.
    Business case: Fast forward 10 years INTO THE FUTURE when electric sports cars (which I assume will all be automatic) dominate the field. (Proof – Tesla family sedan already outruns the run of the mill vette today) that rare MT C8 will only command such a premium on resale, simply because it’s a MT. The last of the gas era. Charge $5-10k more for the MT, people will still flock to buy. Why? It’s like marrying that beautiful woman with the sweetest soul. Just priceless! it’s an emotional purchase for a gear head. Any car guy will tell you….MT is an essential ingredient in any true sports car. Porsche has it figured out….it’s not the horsepower, it’s the overall driving experience. Parting words, how satisfying to drive was that underpowered 4 cylinder motor with the manual transmission of the past. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go to your local Mini Cooper dealer and drive a MT. Even that little car leaves you smiling from ear to ear. In response to earlier comments of getting tired of a manual….this person obviously hasn’t owned a good MT vehicle. Traffic? If first gear has a long range (not the annoying ‘what’s the point’ 1st gear) traffic shouldn’t be an issue. All my years in Los Angeles traffic, I have never burnt a clutch. This may very well be the last GAS corvette (truth be told)…Chevy, don’t betray the Corvette legacy now. Offer the MT! Do this and You will be forgiven in advance for the electric vettes of the future. Btw – good job thus far on the C8.

  20. We can all share our thoughts on the absence of a C8 without a MT. However, there’s little doubt Chevrolet will sell every single 2020 C8 they can get out the Bowling Green Plant.
    With the many new to Chevrolet technologies they’re introducing to the C8 e.g., 48 Volt Architecture, DCT, etc… I’m certain to add the MT to the C8 would have unfavorably added to their finite engineering budget and extended testing past acceptable dates.
    If indeed as most of you are saying there ends up being a negative impact to C8 sales, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chevrolet brought the MT back. In the end, with today’s corporations there has to be a strong business case. I’m just not convinced that not having a MT will hurt the C8’s sales. Now, whether you buy a C8 or not, based on it not having a MT is a personal choice…and honesty will provide an allocation to someone who will love the new DCT. Sadly, for some of you, it is what it is.

  21. Ordinarily I don’t make comments here, but I do have to pull out the red flag for a couple of reasons:
    1) Take rate, production rate, etc…whatever you want to call it, the C7 has year by year has been anywhere between 20% – 33% for manual transmission. Yes it has decreased since the debut of the C7, but that’s to be expected of any vehicle after so many years, including overall sales. Only exception is if you give the car a refresh within the generation, which the C7 never really received. More importantly…

    2) The C8 is a dual-clutch, and that’s fine. I’ll be there to support the people who are interested and will attend a private unveiling next month to help promote the vehicle. However, its very possible that the C8 would not have come out with a manual transmission regardless. Remember, the C8 was “officially” revealed in mid July, but it’s been out in camouflage for months and in R&D well before that – probably as far back as 2016; maybe even late 2015 given the past articles and leaks. After research and development, at some point, they saw the benefits of their work and someone decided (before building prototypes) that a manual transmission just isn’t going to work before getting the green light to test their conceptions. You can’t say stuff like “manuals at a 15% take rate” today when their minds were already made to ditch the transmission at a time where the C7 was producing and selling at twice the number you’re being quoted on (not to mention the Z06 was over 50% in its first year). That doesn’t make sense.

    Maybe it will come back, who knows – I’ll support it as best I can, but Tadge’s argument; I just can’t buy that. The more I think about it, the more I believe they knew what they wanted despite any up/down trends of MT production and sales. Their minds were made up before we saw the first camo C8 on the road.

  22. @ PETE 314 & @ JB: You guys do have some good points there. And to be fair, I will at least give the DCT a try some day. But as PJ implied, all that C8 power coupled with a DCT might not be able to take the place of a little less power coupled with the fun of an MT.
    In the mean time, I’ll remain thankful for my C7. When I first saw a C7 close-up, I had just looked at a new Cayman. “Wow! If that Corvette is has a MT option, I’ll definitely test drive one of those, also — otherwise I’ll just stick with Porsches,” I thought. I found out that it did, test drove both cars a couple of times, and ended up choosing the ‘Vette.
    @ PJ: On a recent 6,400 mile, 2-week road trip in the C7 MT, it dawned on me when we got back that we had the radio off the entire time. Also, as to the ‘true sports car’ thing, you are so right! — That’s why my 25-year-old son and his ilk are willing to shell out upwards of $25K for a 15-year-old Honda S2000. (Another car that Honda dropped the ball on by discontinuing, as with the “real” NSX).
    @ JB: When I was a new engineer, the guy training me said, “Why are we in business?” I naively responded, “To make (our products).” — “No,” he admonished me. “Our shareholders don’t care what we make or how we do it — as far as they are concerned, we are in business to make one thing: MONEY.” I should have known that already, but never forgot it after that! And so we must remind ourselves from time to time — in spite of all the passion that goes with Corvette — Corvettes are designed as a means of making money for GM. So if you can sell all of the DCTs that you can make, well…yeah.

  23. To be truly and I mean TRULY connected driving experience it has to be a MT. I totally get it, us older crowd that in 90% of cases learned to drive on a MT car or truck is dying out. Back in the day, our parents would take us out a few times in a MT vehicle TEACH us how to drive a clutch and we did, becoming one with that car, same as breaking a nervous horse we just mounted and passed our driving test. Although medically I’m unable to drive a MT car or truck any distance without difficulties, so if I were a buyer. I would have no alternative but to forgo the MT, for the Auto. However I should be the exception to the rule and not added to the number of those only interested in buying a auto. Agree it may not hurt the GM bottom line at all, few c-8s in any weird color options, or stripped down will remain unsold on the lots so doesn’t matter in some ways if it’s truly 15% or as mentioned 28%. The loss to GM us much larger then their pocketbooks and profits suggest, it’s the loss of the sports car purest, that has been the mainstream and backbone to the brand seems like forever!!! Additionally as someone mentioned above, there will be those that will enjoy driving a 4 banger Mini Cooper just so they can be as 1 with their ride and in doing so fill a void to the purest now being ignored by GM.

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