The ‘Save the manuals’ movement seemed to be gathering steam a little while ago. First, the Jaguar F-Type, then the Porsche 911 GT3 and, most recently, the Aston Martin Vantage, all got manual gearbox options where previously there wasn’t one.
Sadly, that could have been a bit of a smokescreen, at least in America. New figures show that electric cars outsold manuals there by 50 percent in 2019.
It’s a big lead with small numbers, however. Last year, manuals made up 1.1 percent of sales, while electric cars made up 1.6 percent. The trend-lines crossed in the third quarter of last year, following 2018 when manuals led at 1.6 percent, with EVs on 1.5 percent. Overall, US sales of electric cars totalled around 270,000 in 2019.
This isn’t to say that EVs have raced ahead either, rather that sales of manuals have slumped. The Power Information Network data, which was requested by Green Car Reports, actually suggests that EV sales almost plateaued last year.
So what does this mean for manuals? Well, this is the US market, the market that popularised the automatic car.
It’s unsurprising that shock statistics about the stick shift’s demise should come first from the Land of the Free. As for Europe, we’re still clinging to our third pedal, especially with our taste for more compact cars.