No one can deny Teslas quickly gained popularity for their sleek styling, semi-reasonable price point and electric range. Their cars were (and still are) selling so well, other manufacturers soon followed suit and were quick to add more models to their lineup that were either fully electric vehicles (EVs), or plug in hybrids. The electric car craze is so lively at the moment, that even Ford decided the best way to stay relevant is to make an electric version of their best-selling F-150. Of which, can tow up to a million pounds.
Point is – Tesla, in a way, started a passive battle between manufacturers once they all caught wind that America wanted a car that doesn’t pollute. However, there’s one angle that wasn’t considered: EV sales are higher than the sales of cars with manual transmissions, and purists are bummed about it.
As reported by J.D. Power and Associates in the third-quarter of 2019, cars with manual transmissions only accounted for 1.1 percent of all US sales. EVs, on the other hand, accounted for 1.9 percent of total sales. What’s most interesting about this is the fact that EVs have been on the market for nearly a decade, but it wasn’t until this year that EVs became all the rage. With almost every manufacturer offering more electric or plug-in hybrids and less models available in a manual, it isn’t surprising. Still sad, but not surprising.
In America, the manual transmission isn’t a popular choice among car buyers. Personally, I’ve met more people who didn’t know how to as opposed to those who did. One thing those who didn’t know all had in common (aside from not knowing how to drive stick) was their philosophy. They have all said that they chose not to learn because “there’s no need to.” After all, an automatic is more convenient, it’s easier on the wallet when it comes to gas and they get better miles per gallon. Plus, it doesn’t demand any special attention while driving, and therefore, no skill. Anyone can drive an automatic.
In many sports cars, including the BMW M3, many don’t have manual transmissions based on the argument that a dual-clutch, paddle shifting transmission shifts faster, and therefore, makes the car quicker. Because of this, for as long as EVs have been on the market, the sales of cars with a manual transmission have been steadily declining. In a state like California, where half the time of a journey is spent idling stop and go traffic, the proof is in the pudding – it’s hard for the manual to stay popular here. As the years go buy and mileage becomes more and more important to Americans, many manufacturers decided to cut manuals altogether to save on production costs.
For those who are still wanting to learn how to operate a manual, there’s still hope, but very little. Honda, according to Car & Driver, is the only manufacturer that offers a manual in any model of your choosing (except the EVs, of course – they don’t have transmissions). Subaru offers a manual in the WRX, STi, BRZ and Crosstrek. Jeeps still list a manual transmission as an option, and Toyota offers several manual models as well. Aside from spending time on dealers’ lots, another viable option is always Craigslist. Though, with the way sales are going for manual transmissions, the time to buy is now.