Research states more electric cars are sold in the US than manuals
For petrolheads, the manual gearbox has always been the ultimate component for a ‘fun car’. Of course, dual clutch semi-automatic gearboxes may be faster, but we can all agree nothing’s better than the thrill and the satisfaction that runs through your spines when you got a perfect, mistakeless shift. Regardless, not a lot of people buy a manual these days, not only because they did not learn how to drive a manual but also due to company policies. However, recent research conducted by J.D. Power suggests that the demise of the manual gearbox may be coming faster than we expected.
According to J.D. Power, more Americans bought electric cars compared to manual cars. Trends show that EV sales have risen significantly while manual sales had decreased. However, this is the first time EV sales have risen over manual sales, and most did not expect it to come this fast. EV sales account for 1.9% of all cars sold in the U.S, while vehicles with a manual stick shifting gearbox only accounted for 1.1% of the total.
J.D. Power’s Tyson Johminy states that “the discontinuation of many compact and subcompact sedans where manuals were purchased primarily as a lower cost of entry to a new vehicle”, for the manual gearbox’s greatest decline. Furthermore, the fact that not a lot of the target market knows to drive a manual nor wants to drive a manual.
Jominy warns petrolheads to get their hands on cars with manual gearboxes while they still can. Thankfully, quite a lot of vehicles are still available in manual, starting from hot hatches like the Civic Type R, offroaders like the Wrangler, and even sports cars like the 911 Carrera S and T. Still, Jominy adds, "My best advice to those who are looking to buy their 'forever car' that includes a manual transmission: get your affairs in order and run to a dealership. There are not many model years left to delay!"
At the end of the day...
Two things, one is a good news, and the other is a bad news. The good news is that the U.S. is one of the markets where manual is the least competitive, and there are still lots of manual cars out there. Compared to the States, Europe still has a lot of manual cars that are being used, and a number of people still buy cars equipped with a manual gearbox. Furthermore, lots of companies are still clinging on to their manual cars; Aston Martin announced that a manual gearbox will be fitted in the new Vantage, and same with Porsche with their Carrera S. Furthermore, Japanese fun cars are still mostly bought in manual trim.
However, there is bad news too. We know that this trend will spread to Europe and other areas, as the demand for EVs are increasing significantly. Also, although we have seen lots of car manufacturers offer manuals, we know that a lot of cars are no longer offered with a manual. Lamborghini ditched their manual long ago, and same with Ferrari. The Supra does not come with a manual and the same with the new Defender. Most of all, a majority of the EVs produced do not come with a gearbox, which means in a few decades, the whole act of shifting might be extinct on new cars.
There is still a way to solve the problem. Some innovative individuals and companies have tried adding a gearbox to an EV. For example the 308 GTS, which was modified into an EV by a Californian tuner, Electric GT, has a manual gearbox, while the new Mustang Ford is taking to SEMA not only has 900hp but also a manual gearbox. I sincerely hope automotive manufacturers will find a way to still make EVs feel connected to the driver.