United States Sees Growth In Manual Sales

Does the United States offer hope that manual sales could bounce back? Recent data certainly gives some cause for optimism.

A recent article on the Team-BHP site certainly caught our eye.

They found that manual sales as a percentage of overall sales of new cars have increased. That said, this in a market where manuals had slipped to accounting for just a tiny proportion of all new cars.

In 2021, less than 1% of sales were for manuals, this grew to 1.2% in 2022 and is now at around 1.7% for 2023. Perhaps not time to break out the Champagne, but encouraging nonetheless.

A number of factors are suggested, these being:

  • Drivers prefer the experience of manuals
  • Parents want their children to learn on manuals (as the need to change gears means they won;t be on their phone, with the obvious dangers inherent in that).
  • Others are buying manuals while they still can, before gearless EVs totally dominate.

None of these feel overly compelling as reasons as the factors surely existed prior to the dips heading into 2020. Maybe there are price offers that have made certain manuals appealing or a couple of new models impacting the figures by selling particularly well.

Importantly though whereas it looked like manuals would likely account for around 0.5% of sales by 2025, it is now not unreasonable to think they might be above 2%, so an increase on the expectation by a factor of four. That is the sort of figure that might just make manufacturers sit up and take note.

We believe the next year or two will be key. is 2023 a blip and next year the sales of manual will drop off again, 2023 becoming an outlier data point. Or, will this be a start to a slight uptrend. If it is the latter, it may lead to a slow down in the switch away from manulas. If it is a blip, it won’t.


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