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End of an Era: No More Stick Shifts


2008 Dodge Ram 1500 ST

2008 Dodge Ram 1500 ST

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The year 2008 marked the end of lots of things: fat-cat bonuses, careless spending, the last glimmer of solvency in Detroit. And in the world of full-size trucks, it was the end of the stick shift.

When Dodge introduced its new 2009 Ram with its impressive capabilities, power, and nifty fender boxes, that third pedal on the left was left without a seat in the musical chairs. That's right, the outgoing 2008 Dodge Ram became the last full-size truck to offer a stick shift. Sad times indeed.

I suppose the focus groups have spoken. The marketing people gave their presentations, and concluded that based on a representative sampling of the truck-buying public (perhaps 10 people) of millions, not enough buyers wanted the option to shift their full-sized truck all by themselves.

Chevy stopped giving their buyers the choice two model generations ago. Ford gave up even longer ago. Nissan and Toyota gave it up too. Heck, Nissan may even give up the option to make their own truck themselves soon, too.

Does this bother anyone? I'm well aware that stick shifts aren't ideal for a lot of truck uses, such as towing, or spending 15 hours a day behind the wheel in your work truck. I'm not saying there is a huge demand for manual transmissions in full-size trucks. But it must be there.

Stick shifts are about control. They're about skill. Machismo even. They can help drivers so inclined to get slightly better mileage--by driving style, and by saving weight over the heavy automatic transmission. And if I'm not mistaken, isn't "slightly better mileage" a big deal these days? Isn't saving $1,000 to $1,500 by not getting the automatic a decent idea?

But I'm just one person. But then again, in a focus group, I actually could be 100,000 people. I could be 10% of the truck buying market.

I thought Dodge was clever by offering the only manual transmission in the market. I guess I was wrong.

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Comments (12)
  1. "Bring back the stick"

    I couldn't agree more with the author. I think something should be done to lobby these guys to bring the option back. But for the most part people are getting too lazy for many things, why should shifting your own truck be any different?
     
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  2. Because of this, I think old trucks will command higher value for the enthusiast. The disappearance of such thing is further evidence of the appliance-ification of all vehicles.
    Automatics are such horrible partners. I find them numb and confusing.
     
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  3. As my father once told me..."anyone can press on the gas and turn the wheel!" Ever since then, I've been sold on standard transmission in fullsize trucks. The real cool ones are the dual sticks...transmission and 4wd!
     
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  4. I couldn't agree more with you guys. I have an 85 chevy scotsdale and if i had the money to buy a manual transmission i definately would and since i'm looking for a truck i prefer a manual but i can't find one newer than a 2004. I can't believe that they did away with them totally. My dad had one and he not only saved gas he could pull more weight more efficiently. I am extremely disappointed by absence of the manual.
     
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  5. I got to agree, I currently own two vehicles a 2002 4x4 Dodge Ram 1500 with the 360 and automatic, I hate that transmission and will do everything in my power to buy a stick when it comes time to replace that truck.
    I do most of my driving with my Ford focus zx3 2.0l 4cyl 5speed. I just find it more fun to shift the gears, and its faster than the truck. Plus thanks to the hatch back I am able to do a lot of the jobs that used to be for the truck only, with the car. The car saves enough on gas over the truck to make its own payment.
    I have moved dressers, wheel barrows, cabinets, bicycles, and other such large objects with my little hatch back, that could never be moved with a sedan.
    I do most of my driving in the city, but still I find myself wanting the stick, especially in the winter on icy roads.
    I think my next truck will be a ford F250, but you can still get a dodge 3/4 ton in stick shift as well. In either case you have to order the truck as stick shift is rare.
     
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  6. Sad sad sad! I bought the last new 08 Dodge I could find with the manual tranny. Im a gearhead from birth. I MUST have a truck for work. Its a damned shame that all the lazy yuppies buying pickups for status and never putting anything more than a bag of groceries in the bed have ruined it for all of us who have kept trucks alive and made our living with trucks over the years. They demand every option in the book and probably wouldnt know what a clutch pedal is for.
    Real trucks have clutch pedals, v8's, vinyl mats, and roll up windows. Theres just nothing like a nice curvy road with a stout v8 and a slick tranny late at night..... Sad days we live in. Theres no damned wonder the automakers are in so much trouble. They are alienating entire segments of customers.
     
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  7. I was going to buy a new Dodge 2500 with Cummins Diesel and Stick Shift. I don't want a Dodge automatic,so I'll have to get Ford or Chevy. Stick shift holds up a lot better than automatics specially when towing. You don't have to have transmission cooler and engine runs cooler. Who ever starts making them again will sell them fast as there made.
     
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  8. Bring back the manual shift. I have an 83 chevy c10 with a 4 speed. a transam with a 4 speed and an jeep with a 5 speed. Its hard to believe that a new truck wont have a manual option. I would buy new if the option was still there.
     
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  9. I totally agree. its a very sad era we live in now. the stick shift was everything to me. i have a 95 s-10 stick and an 83 s-10 blazer that stick with 4x4 and a 91 jeep wrangler yj thats stick with 4x4. its a crying shame that automakers have done away with the stick. i to would buy new if that option was still offered. ive had more problems wih my automatics than i have with my stick shifts.i say take up signatures and show these automakers that stick shifts are still wanted and for them to bring them back.
     
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  10. I have a 2001 manual transmission in pristine condition. I bought it new and only have 65k miles. It still looks almost new. I would never buy anything else except a stick. The automatic is for all the little pansies who want the image of being a truck guy without paying their dues.
     
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  11. Automatics are boring. Nothing to do. They have more moving parts. More things to go wrong. Heavier than manual transmissions. Less feeling of control. Really sad that the public has been dumbed down so much that it's come to this.
     
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  12. some years ago, the automatic was an option because a percentage of the truck buyers wanted to buy a truck with an automatic transmission. Today, the automatic is standard equipment, but the stick shift should be an option for the many who still prefer the manual shift tranny. Come on Detroit, build some sticks for us guys that won't buy a truck without it. Thanks!
     
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