The Shift Away From Stick: 4 Reasons Why Manual Transmissions Are Dwindling


Why Are Stick Shifts Fading Away?

Many of us grew up driving a stick shift vehicle, but  some young people today may not even know what a clutch is!  According to CarMax, roughly 96% of Americans own and drive an automatic vehicle. Today, only about 30 different new car models can be purchased in the United States with a stick shift option. Why have manual transmissions downshifted so much in popularity?

Less Demand According to CNBC and Edmunds, auto manufacturers have reported that the consumer demand for annual transmission options in new vehicles has declined. Resources are not being allocated to make new cars with a 5- or 6-speed manual option.

Focus Many drivers do not enjoy having to pay ongoing attention to the mechanics of driving a car with a manual transmission, feeling it makes them less able to focus on the road ahead. Others think it interferes with their multitasking while driving (as a reminder, multi-tasking activities may lead to distracted driving and are potentially dangerous for this reason).  

Fuel Efficiency In the past, manual transmissions were valued for their excellent gas mileage. Today, many automatic vehicles have received some serious updates that allow them to match and even surpass stick shift vehicles when it comes to saving on gas.

Drivability When consumers are deciding on a new car to purchase, drivability comes into play, especially for families. Many teenagers or even adults are not comfortable getting behind the wheel of a car that requires the driver to actively  switch the gears. So, for a family car or a vehicle that will be shared, an automatic transmission is a more comfortable option.

As we progress into the future  will manual transmissions disappear for good? Time will tell!