Published on September 26th, 2023 | by Sounder Rajen0
Manual Transmission Cars See More Sales In The U.S., Signals Market Shift
Manual transmission car sales have gone up to 1.7 percent this year from 0.9 last year
Enthusiasts like me have been screaming, begging, even pleading with carmakers and the public at large to #SaveTheManuals (manual transmission).
As you probably already know, for many years now, automakers all across the globe have been phasing out manual transmissions in favour of automatic transmissions. Well, now it seems that car buyers in the U.S. are listening.
Sales of manual transmission vehicles have experienced a slight increase in recent years in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A In 2023 accounting for 1.7 percent of all new car sales, up from 0.9 percent in 2021. While not a significant increase, the resurgence highlights a shift in consumer behaviour.
Moreover, according to J.D. Power, manual transmission car sales reached a low of 0.9 percent in 2021 before rebounding in 2022 and again in 2023. CarMax, the largest used car chain in the US, reports a similar increase. After a low of 2.4 percent in 2020, manual-equipped car sales increased to 2.8 percent in 2021 and 2.9 percent in 2022.
Interestingly, the traditional justification of buying a manual for cost savings is no longer the primary motivation as Ivan Drury, Director of Insights at Edmunds.com, attributes the resurgence to factors like nostalgia and a desire for a throwback experience. Drury, who owns a Mazda MX-5 with a manual, emphasises that learning to drive a manual enhances the driving experience.
Mark Collier, Regional Vice President and General Manager at CarMax, also notes that some parents view manual transmissions as a way to discourage texting while driving, as they require the use of both hands to operate, thus making it seem like a safer overall option compared to automatic transmissions.
The current top-selling manual transmission vehicles in the U.S. are sportier models. Topping the list is the Honda Civic, followed by the Ford Mustang, Subaru WRX, and Jeep Wrangler. At Volkswagen dealerships like Street VW in Amarillo, Texas, manual-equipped Jettas and Golf Rs sell within a day or two due to high demand.
On top of that, this trend shift is not limited to the most performance-oriented vehicles. Michael Glassman of Glassman Auto Group in Southfield, MI, shared that his store received 46 Kia Fortes with manual transmissions, selling a remarkable 44 of them in short order, so perhaps there is hope yet.
As the automotive landscape continues to evolve, the resurgence of manual transmissions offers a glimpse into changing consumer preferences and the enduring appeal of an engaging driving experience. Let’s just hope it carries over globally and does not stay in the U.S alone.