If you needed a very specific sign that times are indeed a-changin’, this is it. J.D. Power has released findings suggesting that more new car buyers are finally opting for electric vehicles than they are manual transmissions.
The piece of trivia emerged after the renowned marketing research company
sifted through U.S. data from the third quarter of this year to pinpoint a few transitions, including rising EV sales intersecting with falling manual transmission sales.
“[Manual transmissions] have been on a nearly century-long decline and while no rational person thinks the trend will ever reverse, it was interesting to note that only this year, after nearly a decade in market, EVs were able to surpass last century’s dying technology,” said Tyson Jominy, Vice-President, PIN Consulting of the Data and Analytics Division at J.D. Power, in an email to Driving
That intersection of falling M/Ts and rising EVs happened at 1.6-per-cent penetration, with EVs rising to represent 1.9 per cent of total sales; and stickshifts falling to a low of 1.1 per cent by the end of Q3.
All in all, it wasn’t a great year for the manual transmission. Jominy attributes the downturn to “the discontinuation of many compact and sub-compact sedans
where manuals were purchased primarily as a lower cost of entry to a new vehicle,” adding that brands like Mazda, Jeep and Subaru still offer manuals, but mostly in performance or niche products.
“My best advice to those who are looking to buy their ‘forever car’ that includes a manual transmission: get your affairs in order and run to a dealership,” says Jominy. “There are not many model years left to delay!”