Counterintuitive as it may be to think that demand for manual transmissions may be increasingly in demand among U.S. consumers, sales numbers are showing just that.
According to a story by USA Today, cars with manual transmissions are enjoying demand that otherwise hasn’t been so strong since 2006. In fact, 6.5 percent of new cars sold in 2012 have had manual transmissions, which is more than double that of 2007.
In 2006, however, demand stood at 7.2 percent before taking a heavy drop. Now, as demand increases, that change is making some people wonder what is causing the shift.
It can be attributed to a few shifts in market preference, some of which probably affect you. First, many consumers perceive that manual cars are more fun to drive. Second, a stick shift is generally less expensive, something that weighs heavily on entry-level buyers’ minds. Third, as gas prices rise, compact and subcompact cars are becoming the fastest growing segment, outpacing sedans and SUVs.
Not coincidentally, manuals also happen to be more commonplace in those segments, which helps explain the rise in demand. Dodge, for example, observed the increased demand and is putting more emphasis on producing manuals than it previously might have by making 20 percent of its lineup with a stick.
Ford is also ramping up its clutch pedal bearing Focus production after noticing that demand for the cars is hovering around 10 percent verus the four percent it originally estimated.
Finally, people are keeping their cars longer as they become more reliable and a weakened economy encourages people to be more frugal. The surge in manual popularity also coincides with the roughly six-year average that consumers keep cars for today.
[Source: USA Today]