Why the Stick Shift Is Going Extinct

In 2021, only around 1% of new cars sold in the United States came with a stick shift. Whole generations of American drivers have been able to get by without learning to drive a stick shift at all. In stark contrast, in Europe and Asia manual hatchbacks practically run the streets, where some 80% of cars on the road are stick shift. Even there, trends are changing. The major change is due to America’s trend towards making everything as big and cushy as possible. After World War II, automatic transmissions became a premium add-on, mainly because customers didn’t want to deal with shifting through their commute, and because they could easily cover the additional cost. By 1957, automatic transmissions had taken over 80% of the U.S. market. With the U.S. being oil-rich at the time, having a manual transmission as a way of being fuel-efficient was the least of their worries. Even sports cars gave up on manual transmissions, with Ferrari and Lamborghini not offering them at all today. Corvette got rid of its manual transmission option last year, and Ford, who offered manual transmissions only on performance packages like the Mustang GT, have even cancelled those in the last few years. In the meantime, Porsche and Honda are still offering the stick shift autos, with about 20% of their buyers opting for them. Advancements in automatic transmissions have meant that they are now more efficient than manual transmissions. So, if you have a car with a stick shift, it might be worth big bucks a few years down the road.