It’s no secret that manual transmissions are becoming increasingly rare, but a new report from CNBC puts things into perspective.
Citing data from Edmunds, the publication says only 41 of 327 new vehicles offer a manual transmission in the United States. That’s a little over 12% of all new models.
While that number actually doesn’t sound too bad, it’s far lower than nine years ago. Back in 2011, 37% percent of vehicles sold in America were offered with a DIY gearbox.
The shift (pun intended) hasn’t happened overnight, but manuals have been disappearing from a number of new and updated models. The 2020 Nissan Frontier has gone auto-only and so has the redesigned Sentra. The Mazda6 dropped the stick for 2019 and so did the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette.
Of course, there are a few hold outs. Most recently, Cadillac announced the CT4- and CT5-V Blackwing would be offered with a manual transmission. The news came shortly after MINI confirmed the manual was making a return for 2021 after a short hiatus.
However, there is a bit of sad trend going on. Manual transmissions are increasingly being limited to extremely hard to come by base models that mostly owe their existence to advertise a lower entry price and sports cars. However, these are for very different reasons as performance models are aimed at enthusiasts who still like shifting for themselves. Cheap cars, on the other hand, have manuals to keep prices down.
The latter comes pretty clear when you look at cars that cost less than $20,000. The redesigned 2020 Nissan Versa comes standard with a five-speed manual and so does the Chevrolet Spark. However, the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris are bit more modern as they come with a six-speed stick.
With automakers eliminating sedans to build more crossovers, it’s likely that manuals will continue to decline in popularity. That’s even before you factor in the onslaught on electric vehicles on the horizon.