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Stat of the Day: EV Sales Outpace Manual Transmission Cars

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Nov. 14, 2019—Sales of vehicles with manual transmissions are lagging behind electric vehicle sales among U.S. buyers.

Citing data from J.D. Power, Car and Driver reported that EVs now command 1.9 percent of the market, while manuals are a mere 1.1 percent.

There are still more manuals on the market, too, Car and Driver notes. Right now, 40 models are offered with a manual transmission compared to 16 EV choices. Often, the manual is an entry-level option on economy cars or as options on higher-end, sporty models. Increasingly, it's the latter sorts that get the transmission option.

In the quick maintenance business, there's a lot of talk about the "do-it-for-me" economy that drives customers to shops. In this case, it's the "shift-it-for-me" culture.

The decline of manuals has been in the works for years now. Writing in 2018 for Cnet Road Show, Brian Cooley said the United States is a bit of an outlier in its preference for automatics. He wrote that the wealth of the American market, relative to other countries, makes the cost for an auto and a manual about the same in most cars. There are fewer Americans who can operate a manual and, finally, Cooley wrote that technology has made automatics about as efficient as manuals.

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