2020 C8 Corvette Isn’t Getting A Manual Because It Wasn’t Worth The Effort

If you belong to those few still hoping for GM to roll out a manual transmission option for the new C8 Corvette, then we have some bad news for you.

Speaking with Corvette lead engineer Tadge Juechter, Motor Authority asked him whether a manual option is coming back. The answer was a rather straight-forward “No.”

Juechter added that a manual C8 Corvette would simply not sell good enough to justify a supplier’s effort to develop and the costs involved.

Also Read: 2020 Corvette C8 Is America’s Mid-Engine Sports Car For The Masses

“We couldn’t find anybody honestly who’d be willing to do it. Because just like the automatic, the DCT, it would have to be a bespoke manual,” Juechter said. “It’s low volume, very expensive. The reason is it’s a low-volume industry. That industry is dying—building manual transmissions.”

Fewer and fewer customers opt for the manual in the Corvette, dropping the take-rate to around 15 percent, according to Juechter. “Every year it goes down, down, down, down,” he said.

Porsche did try to drop the manual option from its hardcore GT models too, but was met with criticism from customers. They listened and eventually offered the 911 GT3 with a manual transmission again. Since then, two out of three buyers go for the three-pedal version according to Porsche North America CEO Claus Zellmer.

Juechter says that this wouldn’t hold for the Corvette. “It’s 15 percent on cars like the Z06, which historically have been only a manual. And as soon as we offer the automatic, everybody buys the automatic,” Juechter said.

The 2020 C8 Corvette will feature a new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. GM worked with Tremec to develop it specifically for the new ‘Vette. “We don’t just find a DCT, an 8-speed DCT that plugs into this architecture with the right dimensions,” he added.

The challenge was to create a transaxle-style transmission that could work with the 6.2-liter LT2 V8. Having a dry sump enabled engineers to mount the V8 lower but that created a whole range of other issues for the gearbox during development.

“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. 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,” Juechter said.

While the new DCT-equipped C8 is expected to be better in every measurable way, the death of the manual Corvette still makes us feel a bit sad.

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  • Ben

    The moment I saw how that center console was laid out in spy shots, I knew there wasn’t going to be a manual transmission. Only one vehicle I know that had such a ridge between driver and passenger and still had a manual would be Porsche’s Carrera GT. There might be others, but that’s the only one that comes to mind.

  • Denzel

    Every 2-3 Porsches are manuals that’s low but makes them super exclusive so price on those would be high in used market. Can’t blame some of these automakers for skipping the manual. It’s the customers that are buying autos/DCT

    • Ben

      Not only that, but they’ve said they’re trying to market the C8 to younger buyers. I think you’d exclude a lot of younger buyers by making in a manual only(Ford ST line) and if it were an option, you’re wasting production cost.

      • SgtBeavis

        removed comment..

        I reread your statement and realized I had read it wrong the first time. I agree with what you’ve said.

    • DMax

      It’s 2 out of 3, that’s 66.6% manual take rate, how’s that low?

      • Denzel

        Im not bashing the manual i was just saying it sounds low compared to how many GT3s are produced not counting the non hardcore models.

        • Mr. Viscous

          Denzel my man are you feeling ok? Everything alright?

  • Stephen G

    Manual tranny requires pushing in clutch…too tought on knee and hip replacements Corvette customers typically have had.

    • Benjamin B.

      Median age is 61 years old

    • Benjamin B.

      You’re right actually

  • Shahul Usman

    I am still shocked about the no 3 pedal option.. I love the C8 but wont buy one..3 corvettes Ive owned. As the true enthusiast that made the car what it was, had bought their cars, the masses wait for 15% off and buy base automatics. Hence why the manual sales went down and down

  • Craig

    I have no problem with this. I like manual transmissions a LOT but only in considerably less powerful cars.

    • Thunderbolt

      so true, it’s much more fun to drive a manual with less power, cars like Mazda Miata for example, or Honda civic, they’re great for manual trans.

      • Bill Hampton

        Love putzing around in the ole manual Ranger. Couldn’t imagine doing it in a car like this.

  • ctk4949

    Since that wheel next to the shift buttons are for driving modes. The screen is only touchscreen. So ur gonna have to lean forward every time you wanna use the touchscreen?? lol

  • john1168

    I drove a manual for 15 years and as much fun as they are, I’m ok with this. I understand some people still want them but for a car like this, especially one that will potentially have up to 1000 hp, if you want performance, you go with DCT.

    • BlackPegasus

      Agreed. I’ve owned 3 cars with manual transmissions. They were fun to drive but I don’t have any interest in owning another at this stage in life. I want to cruise and let the badge speak for itself 😁

    • Stigasawuswrecks

      I live in Charlotte and when I had my manual M5 it was annoying 90-95% of the time due to traffic. I could only enjoy on early 5 am morning romps on Sundays or annual trip to the VIR. I thought I’d miss having a manual when I got my CTS-V but I really don’t.

  • Jweisberg

    There is always the used market for us manual lovers.

  • alexxx

    People not buying manuals,companies not making them…. What is there left to explain!?

  • getoffme

    Suddenly not having a manual option is okay. Lol……..

  • alexxx

    Well you are right there but obviously I was talking about U.S. company and U.S. market.
    So…in markets where people buy manuals companies make manuals ☺️.

  • Michael_66589

    Manual is good for underpowered cars with small engines. For 500 KM V8 there is any sense for manual.

    • Mehdi Cheddadi

      500 KM V8 there is any sense for manual. teh TRUTH LE LULZ

  • jeepwonder

    I’m trying to think of a single car with a duel clutch transmission where people loved it and it sold well without coming back to bite the manufacturer.

  • Benjamin B.

    Last year only about 15 percent of Corvette C7 drivers opted for the 7-speed manual. That’s down from over 40 percent a decade ago. Also the median age of a Corvette owner is over 60. The men who drive Corvettes now are physically unable to use a clutch even with their new knees and hips.

    • Bill Hampton

      Too bad you have to be 60 and rich to even consider owning one of these. Make them a little cheaper and I’d buy one with a 7-seed manual.

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