Did you know that only 2% of the vehicles sold in the US have manual transmissions? Manual car sales are so dismal that most US auto manufacturers no longer build cars with manual transmissions.
However, manual cars still sell well in Europe. Does that mean we should be able to keep getting them in the US? Actually, it’s possible that European manual car production and sales will dwindle, too. Here are three reasons why:
1. Automatic Car Sales in Europe
The majority of cars sold in Europe have manual transmissions, but cars with automatics are on the rise. In the UK, the number of automatics being registered has doubled since 2012. This itself won’t phase out manual cars, but it might be a contributing factor in the future as more people will get used to driving automatic transmissions.
2. Possible Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle Bans
Image Credit: AutoWeek
Many major cities and countries have expressed interest in banning the sale and registration of internal combustion (IC) engine vehicles. For example, Norway wants to phase out cars powered by fossil fuel by 2025. Even California is talking about ending manufacturing and registration of new gasoline-powered cars by 2040.
However, no one has passed a law prohibiting such cars yet, so there’s still a chance that manual cars will be prowling the roads in these major cities and countries. Even if these laws do get passed, it’ll take a while to phase out cars powered by fossil fuel. Automakers would need to design electric vehicles and clear out their existing gas-powered vehicles.
3. The Rise of Electric Vehicles
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Electric vehicles are all the rage here in the US, which is part of the reason why barely anyone is buying manual cars these days. Electric vehicles took a little longer to catch on in Europe, but they’ve gotten pretty popular these days. Pair that with the internal combustion engine vehicle bans that may take place in the near future, and you’ve got a country (or city) full of electric vehicles only.
Every electric vehicle uses a single speed transmission (which isn't really a transmission in a conventional sense.) This means manual transmissions will be entirely phased out in any city or country that bans cars powered by fossil fuel.
If manual cars get phased out for the most part (or even entirely), then they’ll likely become collector cars. In that case, we recommend holding onto your manual car and keeping it in tip-top shape.