According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the sale of vehicles equipped with manual transmissions has gained popularity in the United States in 2022
The heyday of the manual gearbox is behind us. While still favored by purists and those seeking an economical car, the manual transmission has seen a significant decline in popularity in the United States and Canada. In fact, in 2022, only 1.2% of vehicles sold across the border came equipped with a manual transmission.
However, there may be reason for enthusiasts to cheer, as 2023 has shown a glimmer of hope, with a 0.5% increase in sales of vehicles with manual transmissions in the United States, bringing the total to 1.7% of sales.
Young drivers and purists to the rescue
A recent study published by the Wall Street Journal suggests that the renewed interest in manual transmissions is being driven by young drivers and car enthusiasts. The study also found that over half of buyers of the Acura Integra with a manual transmission were between the ages of 18 and 46. In the United States, 25% of Mazda MX-5 buyers who opted for the manual transmission were under the age of 35. Furthermore, a survey conducted by BMW revealed that over 65% of drivers aged 18 to 34 expressed a strong interest in learning how to drive a manual transmission. Despite being a small percentage, this indicates that a spark of enthusiasm for manual gearboxes still exists.
Could this resurgence in manual transmission sales be good news for Canadian car enthusiasts? To a certain extent, yes. Since the American market is more economically significant for car manufacturers, certain strategic decisions regarding the importation of vehicles into Canada are based on the behavior of American consumers. Thus, this unexpected increase in manual vehicle sales may suggest that the manual gearbox is not completely doomed to extinction.
The automatic transmission undoubtedly holds the top spot
The benefits of automatic transmissions are hard to ignore. With faster and more fuel-efficient performance than manual transmissions, the various types of automatic transmissions have won over the majority of drivers in North America. In addition to drivers, manufacturers also rely on their performance to offer even greater energy efficiency and speed of execution.
While the manual transmission may have some advantages over the automatic, such as greater control and driver engagement, the latter is generally considered more lightweight and affordable. Unfortunately, the number of vehicles available with a manual transmission is dwindling each year, but there are still options for Canadian drivers who prefer manual transmissions. Popular models with manual options include the Mazda3, Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru WRX, and Toyota Tacoma, among others.
The resurgence of the manual transmission in the US market is a positive sign, but it’s too early to declare a grand comeback. While interest in manual transmissions seems to be on the rise, there is no guarantee that this trend will continue. Furthermore, electric vehicles do not seem to be adopting manual transmissions, with Toyota being an exception by introducing a fake manual transmission for its future electric vehicles. In order for the manual gearbox to survive the many changes in the automotive industry, it is crucial that sales figures continue to climb.