Americans Bought More EVs Than Manual-Transmission Cars In 2019

Illustration for article titled Americans Bought More EVs Than Manual-Transmission Cars In 2019
Photo: Hyundai

Sigh. Sigh. I know it’s pointless banter to lament about the demise of the manual transmission in the United States, but I’m going to do it anyway because I’m told it’s healthy to let it all out. The fact is fewer and fewer people are buying new, stick-shift cars. This was clearer than ever last year.


To contextualize the data, Green Car Reports pulled numbers for both electric-car and manual-transmission car sales. Both amounted to less than two percent of the market, but even so, EVs pulled ahead by a slim margin.

EVs made up 1.6 percent of U.S. retail sales in 2019, while manuals were merely 1.1 percent. The outlet notes in 2018, manuals “still held a thin lead” of 1.6 percent versus 1.5, but fell back as we headed into Q3 of 2019. Total EV sales for 2019 amounted to about 270,000 cars.

The popularity of manual cars has been steadily decreasing, so this really doesn’t come as a surprise. More and more automakers cut back on manual offerings every year. Even enthusiast cars such as the new Toyota Supra and the Chevy C8 Corvette aren’t offered with three pedals anymore.

There still are some very excellent manuals around, though. Among others, you can get a Honda Civic Type R, a Shelby GT350 and a Hyundai Veloster N with three pedals and a six-speed. Did you buy a new, manual-car last year? Congratulations. You’re part of the one percent.

Clarification 12:02 p.m. EST: Green Car Reports pulled its data from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network. It is “based on actual dealer-transaction data, and has a strong reputation for its sales numbers and forecasting.” 

via Motor Trend

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Is it any surprise, really? They have long since outlived their place in the modern automobile. I don’t just say that as some youngin’ who doesn’t know how to drive stick - I’ve driven them. I learned on one. I just think they’re horrible - always have because even as a teen in the 1980s I thought of them as obsolete.

Could cars still have a hand-crank start? Sure.

Could ships still use triple expansion steam engines? Sure.

Could computers still have floppy drives? Sure.

Could we still use oil lamps to light our house? Sure.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. The Manual transmission served it’s purpose in automotive history, but it is time to appreciate it for what it was, and leave it in the past where it belongs.