In 2011, manual transmissions made up only three percent of auto sales. If this trend stays on course, 2012 will mark the most manual transmission cars sold since 2006.
Interestingly however, automakers are offering fewer manual transmission options. 64 percent of all 2012 cars are offered as automatic transmission only, while ten years ago, that number was a much smaller 45 percent. The fuel economy advantage offered by a stick-shift is also a thing of the past, with modern day automatics generally always besting their manual counterparts.
The growing age of vehicle trade-ins is cited as one main causes for the spike, as many baby-boomers are looking to replace their cars this year, most of which still opt for manual transmissions. Also, the amount of small cars on our roads has increased substantially, many of which offer cheap manual options that appeal to people.
It looks like this is simply a small spike though, and not a trend, based on the fact that many of today’s young drivers do not learn how to operate a stick shift.
[Source: LA Times]