Endangered Species

It wasn't that long ago that an automatic gearbox in a car was considered upmarket, often at an additional cost. Today the car market is quite different, and the manual transmission is now an endangered species.

Manual transmissions are on the decline, often only available in small, entry-level models. Except for some sportscars, sales of cars with manual transmission can total less than two per cent of all vehicles sold.

One reason for the decline is that young drivers choose to sit their driver's licence test in an automatic car. All learner driver's in Victoria need to accumulate 120 hours of driving before they sit for their driver's licence. As a result, many of them have to drive their parent's cars, which are often automatic, never learning how to drive a manual car.

With the introduction of semi-automatic and dual-clutch gearboxes, even the high-end sports cars no longer offer a stick-shift option. One main reason for this is that automatic gearboxes can shift faster and have up to ten forward gears.

I am still a big fan of the manual gearbox, but for the most part, manual transmission cars seem to hold appeal for two main groups: those wanting to buy new vehicles at rock-bottom prices and driving enthusiasts.

Zoom Zoom