There's no question of our love for manual transmissions. Call us old school, stodgy, traditionalist. We prefer the term "enthusiast" because we can't see how an automatic transmission, no matter how good, can replace the pure engagement of a stick shift to make you feel like part of the vehicle. And not just for sporty cars. A good manual transmission can make an okay car super-fun, especially economy cars like small, low powered hatchbacks (like the now-defunct tiny Mazda2).
But all evidence points to the impending death of the manual transmission. Case in point, electric cars now outsell vehicles with manual transmissions. Ugh, what a punch to the automotive solar plexus. J.D. Power has issue data stating only 1.1 percent of new vehicles in America get purchased with a stick, while those with electric power amount to almost 2 percent.
Get used to it, folks, since this will be the way of the world for the foreseeable future. More automakers are bringing EVs into their lineups, and as the electric charging infrastructure grows, and as EV technology and range improves, electric cars as a percentage of overall automotive sales will climb.
It doesn't mean the end of the "driving fun" world as we know it (but it feels like it), since cars like the Toyota 86, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the Porsche 911 Carrera S will continue to have manual transmissions as an integral aspect of their configuration (though the base 911 Carrera loses its manual... bad news, indeed!). Even cars like the BMW 3-Series, a clearly enthusiast model, lost its manual transmission with the current redesign. But more mainstream cars are killing it too. The Mazda6 no longer comes in a manual transmission.
None of this comes as any surprise, of course, but that doesn't mean we like it. EVs are on the rise (the next great wave of change in the auto industry), and manual transmissions are on the wane. They were bound to cross paths in terms of sales. While more and more mainstream vehicles will ditch their manual transmissions, we're holding onto hope for the current crop of great sports cars to keep them for several more years. Once Porsche, Mazda, and VW get rid of their stick shifts, we're gonna just crawl into a corner, suck our thumbs, and cry.