Even though manual transmissions have been in decline for decades, a new EPA report shows that 6.7% of new vehicles sold this year are equipped with a stick. Sadly, it's the highest percentage in the last five years .
For the first year since 1991, the percentage of cars sold with a manual transmission increased by more than 1% according to an EPA report on fuel economy issued this month. Although they are merely preliminary numbers this could be an indication of the rise, or at least the survival of cars with manual transmissions.
The EPA report shows 3.9% of trucks and 9.1% of cars were sold this year compared to 45.8% and 19.9% respectively 20 years ago. The 6.7% segment of cars sold so far this year is the highest percentage since 2005. While Ford and Chrysler's percentage of vehicles sold with manual transmissions was lower than the 6.7% average, GM's percentage of vehicles sold with a manual was 7.2%.
Despite the general decline of the manual transmission, this year's numbers — albeit low — are good news for those of us who still love shifting ourselves. Even though these aren't the final numbers for the year, they indicate to car companies if they continue to offer manual transmissions in their cars, some of us will still buy them.
More importantly, it shows manufacturers that building exciting-to-drive cars with a stick — Ford Fiesta, Cadillac CTS-V, etc — is a positive.