A Moment Of Silence, Please — EVs Outsold Manual Transmissions For the First Time In 2019

Don't hold your breath for a manual electric car, either

[Photo: Toyota]

Every year, we see the prolonged death march of the manual transmission continue to play out, and the picture only looked worse in 2019. Fewer Americans are opting for the three-pedal option, leaning toward automatic transmissions in some form instead. While that’s been a given for quite awhile, there’s a new wild card in the mix: electric vehicles. For the first time last year, electric cars actually outsold manual transmissions.

To put that in perspective, we U.S. car buyers purchased 17.1 million new vehicles in 2019. Of those, about 1.1 percent (less than 200,000) had the exceedingly rare clutch pedal, as pointed out by Green Car Reports. On the other hand, EVs held a 1.6 percent market share. That’s a more substantial lead than in 2018, where electric cars and manual transmissions were within about 0.1 percent of each other. This information came from Power Information Network (PIN) by JD Power, which uses dealer transaction data to generate its reports.

2019 Toyota 86 TRD
Apart from purpose-built enthusiast cars, people just aren’t springing for manual transmissions anymore.

A sad, but not surprising trend

Of course, enthusiasts are the ones keeping even that one percent alive. It’s sad news for those who prefer to row their own gears, but it’s hardly surprising news. Again, this trend has played out for several years, and more automakers drop manual variants each year. As the data rolls in, fewer and fewer people buy manual transmissions, so manufacturers are less inclined to keep offering them. Performance cars like the Chevrolet Corvette and Toyota Supra no longer offer manual transmissions at any point in the lineup.

There are a few notable holdouts, such as enthusiast-friendly cars like the BMW 2 Series, Toyota 86 and Ford Mustang, but on the whole the market share for manual transmissions will likely drop below 1 percent in the next year or so.

For the moment, rowing your own gears is still possible, if you buy one of the cars below: