Consider this a sign of the times: Even though Chevrolet is readying its highest-performance Camaro ever, General Motors executives are reportedly already hedging their bets that over 50 percent of all 2012 ZL1 orders will be for automatic transmission models.

The high expected order rate for automatics paired with the 6.2-liter, 580-horsepower ZL1 not only follows a growing market preference for two-pedal vehicles, it also suggests that even sporty car buyers are noting that advancements in design have all but eliminated the performance deficit long associated with this type of transmission.

Low take rates also means that fewer models are even available with manual transmissions, and it's a problem that's only getting more acute. With fewer new cars being fitted with manual transmissions, opportunities for learning how to drive a three-pedal car (along with people who can teach how to drive them) are fewer and further between. The result? Even fewer manual transmissions.

According to the Ward's Auto report, fully 89 percent of 2010 model-year passenger cars were fitted with automatic gearboxes. In the case of Chevrolet's Camaro, even the existing SS model is trending at 70 percent automatic, and that's higher than the 65 percent take rate among base Corvette purchasers.

The Oshawa, Ontario-built Camaro ZL1 is expected in dealers in the first quarter of 2012.



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  • 93 Comments
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's fine, just don't get rid of the manual option.
      ramairjer
      • 3 Years Ago
      Would like to see GM put out some dual clutch manumatics instead of dressing up the torque converter slushboxes. Can't wait to see the numbers the auto ZL1 puts up however.
      All_mine
      • 3 Years Ago
      There are so many people here talking about automatics vs manuals. All the time, blah blah blah. Lambo decides to never make manuals again and you have this argument. This article comes up and people crawl out of their caves to start arguing. Who cares. In the end, building cars is a business. Businesses want to make money, and they will gladly stop making a certain product if they aren't earning as much as they possibly could. Your arguments, while funny sometimes, aren't going to stop the trend. So, if you don't like the idea, go to another company. I, for one, have a porsche cayman with an MT. I love driving that car, it's fantastic. But do you know how annoying it is sometimes when your driving down the road in bumper to bumper traffic and your trying to shift gears and text at the same time, so annoying. Haha, jk. But seriously though, the transmission a person has is a preference. If I raced my car on a regular basis, I would go with the PDK. Plain and simple, it's shifts faster. Not only that, it is very fun to drive. I know alot of people here like to talk about the clutchless manuals meaning no peddle clutch, and that's fine. But, if you talk about it and have never driven one, a real one, than please save your breath, because you really don't know what your talking about. I don't mean a paddle shifter on a lexus, chevorlet, or mazda etc. I'm talking about a real race car with a top notch "automatic" transmission, Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo (kinda, the E-gear wasn't that great). Again, this is the evolution of the automobile, embrace it, it's not going away anytime soon.
      chadnola
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think there is still good demand for it, but it's a matter of what they'll build and what people will simply have to take. Some cars are just ruined by automatics, some might be enhanced, particularly if it's a DCT that can shift in 150ms and hold gears at redline. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them don't. And CVTs...game over. Drive a golf cart. It's about as exciting.
        airchompers
        • 3 Years Ago
        @chadnola
        Good CVTs can be a blast. Ever driven a snowmobile? Or one of those Side by Side ATV things? They're a blast and a half.
      kkacperowski
      • 3 Years Ago
      ummm what?
      SheldonRoss
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow lots of lazy automatic lovers here today. But but but... bumper to bumper... commute ... Waaa waa waa, cry me a river. Just admit you're lazy and not a real enthusiast and be done with it. Or just thumb me down and pretend all the excuses you make for your slush boxes are valid. Go eat your fast food and claim to be fan of fine cuisine. Pretend the poster on your wall is fine art, and and insist your attire could grace the cover of Esquire. You're fooling no one but yourselves.
        Rob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SheldonRoss
        Look at me...I can drive a stick shift....what a man I am... Just admit your compensating for other shortcomings and be done with it, LOL
        Highlander
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SheldonRoss
        I can drive a stick shift very well... shift quite fast and do double clutch to down shift like a pro-racer.... but... you know what? Right now.. I bet whatever you want that the Automatic ZL1 will net better times on the track with the same tires than the manual. It will do what the owners want the car to do... PERFORM! Being an enthusiast doesn't mean you have to drive a stick... Right now I am converting my 800whp Camaro to a manual just because I want to run 9s. The era of the stick shift is almost over.
      Alex
      • 3 Years Ago
      when i take over the world i am outlawing all automatic transmissions... automatics make drivers less aware, and thus worse drivers. either learn to drive a stick and be a decent driver, stay right except to pass, use your frakin' turn signal or don't drive.
        rocketmoose
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Alex
        "use your frakin' turn signal" I'd vote you in with a policy like that, no need for the Dr. Evil stuff. I was crossing my street to bung a letter in the post and got into an argument with a driver that almost knocked me down, whom proceeded to have a whinge at ME, claiming I wasn't looking. Well, htf was I supposed to know you were turning right, if you weren't indicating? Fukken telepathy?
      DC Mike
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like fast cars but after living in an area with TONS of stop-and-go traffic I have no shame in driving an automatic. And before anyone starts downing me for "not being a true driver" ...sorry but I was a pilot in the military for 8 years, so I know how to be "One" with my machine more properly than you can imagine. Get what you like, and don't let anyone else mandate how to get your throttle on.
      getoffmydinghy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Driving a manual isn't always about the performance advantage. It's about the tactile sensation and the ultimate control over the vehicle you have. How many of those ZL1s are going to see track duty, where those lightning quick paddle shifters are actually going to make a difference. 10%? 20%? Most of those buyers of automatic transmission will be giant pansies and poseurs, nothing more. It is one of the greatest tragedies that you drive the car you can afford, not the car you deserve. Pay attention, America. This is why Europe gets all the good cars, and we get heavier detuned versions with more seat padding for our Big Mac asses.
        Mak
        • 3 Years Ago
        @getoffmydinghy
        All those "good cars" are coming standard with autos/dual clutch boxes anyway. You couldn't even get a manual equipped E60 M5 till it came stateside. And the CTS-V is one of what? 2 Cars in it's class available with a manual at all. Yeah I'm not not buying your logic.
        mustsvt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @getoffmydinghy
        Well said!
      Matt Brown
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it is about time to slot manual transmissions in the same category as carburetors. Some people will swear by them and say that any car without them is driven by a 60 year old lady with parkinsons, or a guy who doesn't know anything about cars. And those people can continue their asinine rants while stocking the shelves at Kragen and rejetting their Novas ad infinitum. I'll pit my car-guy-ness against anybody, and my next car will likely be an automatic (and will sure as hell not have a carburetor).
        GoSpeedRacerGo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Brown
        Preferring a manual transmission over an automatic has nothing to do with rejecting modern technology. If you actually drove a stick you'd know this, but then you couldn't text or drink your frappuccinno while driving.
          Matt Brown
          • 3 Years Ago
          @GoSpeedRacerGo
          Okay, one mass reply and I'm out. A) I drive a manual. Every day. a 2008 Mini Cooper S. Also, the bike engine Honda S600 I'm building will retain the bike trans, so that will be a sequential manual shift. My NEXT daily driver won't be a stick. B) There are several cars which boast a faster acceleration and better fuel mileage with the auto than the manual, and more every year. You are right, technically the instantaneous power to the wheels is less or the same, but the performance is better. C) I can appreciate that you drive a manual for the joy, I ride my RC-51 occasionally for the same reason. The fact that I would make the decision to commute with an automatic doesn't mean i'm lazy or hate cars or want to sip my frappuccinno. it means that I recognize the advantages of an automatic for daily commutes, especially given the decreasing and, in some cases, negative benefits of a manual. It means i want something different than you. D) I'm not saying you're wrong for owning a manual, just like you're not wrong for owning a carbureted car. I'm saying people are wrong when they make asinine generalizations about people who don't want a manual.
        tump
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Brown
        So what you're saying is that you just don't know how to drive a stick.
        airchompers
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt Brown
        I don't drive a manual transmission for anything other than the joy and challenge of shifting perfectly, the connection I feel with the car, and the fact that driving a manual wakes me up. But I ride a sportsbike to work on days with important meetings for the same reason: You need to be mentally there to do it well.
      flammablewater
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why are Americans so lazy?
        Pandaren Master
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Because today's state of the art automatics get better gas mileage? Not bashing manuals, but seriously? Lazy? At least we're equipped with good enough 'standard equipment' to please our women, unlike other countries.
        Fonin
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        specifically so that you can ask that question at this exact moment in time. your usefulness to the universe has now ended, please return your tray tables and seat backs to their upright and locked positions.
        mrokner
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Why do Europeans have more holidays than Americans? Americans work more than most; they are at the top of the list among countries with the least amount of days off.
          Malto
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mrokner
          And you think that is something to be proud of, especially with on average lesser quality of life?
        kingrat001
        • 3 Years Ago
        @flammablewater
        Laziness has only a little to do with it. I can drive a stick fine, but as a daily driver who stops at an average of about 18 lights on the way to and from work, along with the bozos who practically stop to make a right turn, I would lose my mind within a week. When I borrowed my friend's car for a day, the shifting annoyed the hell out of me, even though it had, by far, the best and lightest clutch I've ever driven. After two hours of driving it around town, I had more than enough "driving fun" to last me forever. I can only afford one car and that car will never have a stick.
      HydraulicDragon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think all performance vehicles should be offered with a standard, and you should have to pay $5,000 more for an automatic.
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