Why the Shift? Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions Sales

by Admin on July 30, 2014

The End of the Road for Manual Transmissions

Image from fix.com, US sales statistics

Is the manual (aka stick shift, or standard) transmission approaching its final days in the car industry?

Dramatic statistics over the past decade indicate a slow, but sure, death of the manual gearbox across the board in automotive manufacturers. These statistics are prevalent shockingly even among sports cars, including Porsche, Ferrari, Jaguar, and Aston Martin!

This is a culmination of many factors, including advancements in automatic transmission technology, safety features, and an ever-increasing consumer trend towards automatic transmission preference. The driving experience is, for lack of a better word, becoming lazy, thanks to a plethora of features which include: handsfree Bluetooth talking integrations, voice commands, keyless entry, other smart-key advancements, and even hatches that open with just a kick from your foot under the bumper!

For those of you who are driving purists, and can’t imagine a world without the stick shift, fear not – yet. Analysts project the end of their road in the next 20+ years.

Examples of manufacturers sticking to the stick shift are Mazda and Honda, which are both proud of their racing heritage. This is seen especially in the case of Mazda, a manufacturer that is always looking for that “zoom-zoom” experience for their drivers. Volkswagen also offers numerous manual options, including the Golf R.

The fact remains, only 5% of new vehicles sold in Canada were manual and about 65% on the market do not even come with a manual option (as of July 2013). Clearly we are shifting away from shifting.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek Kubik July 31, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Interesting, I know a couple people that strongly prefer manual. I’ll stick to my automatic though.


Keith Rollans July 30, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I definitely prefer automatic. I find manual too stressful.


Kandace July 30, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Like Christina, I always have that fear of rolling when driving a stick. Plus, I have trouble remembering the gearshift patterns. In an emergency, sure I could handle it… for my day-to-day the convenience of an automatic is unparalleled.


Christina July 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I can drive a stick when I’m in a pinch but I prefer an automatic because I don’t have to worry about rolling backwards into the person behind me when I’m at a stop sign, or grinding gears.

Having said that, I can’t imagine owning a sports car with an automatic transmission, that would take all the fun out of it!


Arthur July 30, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I transferred from manual transmission to automatic transmission. And, my wife will only buy vehicle with automatic transmission if she needs to buy one in future.


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