The decline of manual transmission cars: Interesting conversation at MetaFilter about the death of the manual transmission.
Do you know what to do with a stick and a clutch? Only 15% of new car buyers in the US say they’ll consider buying a car with manual transmission, and by 2012, only 6% of cars will be offered with a stick. Is it because it’s a difficult skill to learn? Or is it really because it’s too hard to shift when you have a cell phone in one hand and a Starbucks coffee in the other?
I always thought that stick shifts were more common in performance cars, but I don’t anymore. The fact is that the average buyer for a Porsche or a Ferrari is probably over 50, and is more interested in looking good and in ease of cruising than pure speed. That’s why the last (only) Ferrari I rode in had a clutchless paddle-shift system, and Porsche pioneered the “manumatic” transmission with its Tiptronic.