Shut your eyes and ears, purists. Sales of manual cars were officially overtaken by those of electric vehicles in the USA for the first time last year.
According to Green Car Reports quoting Power Information Network data, electric vehicles represented 1.6 per cent of new car sales in the USA during 2019, compared to a 1.1 per cent share for three-pedal cars.
The data shows what has been clear to automotive enthusiasts for a number of years: electric vehicles are growing in popularity, while the pool of manual cars on offer is shrinking.
In Australia, figures from the Electric Vehicle Council reveal 6718 pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars were sold in 2019, more than triple the 2216 sold in 2018.
As the number of electric vehicles available to local buyers has grown (albeit off a low base), the number of manual cars available has shrunk.
Enthusiast cars and base-model economy cars are the two remaining strongholds for three-pedal vehicles, but recent changes to European emissions rules – along with declining buyer interest – have undermined even those strongholds.
A number of small hatchbacks and SUVs are still offered with a manual, but generally as a price leader – to draw people into showrooms so they can be up-sold to an automatic – rather than proper volume offerings.