You don't have to be an expert to notice that over time, the percentage of manual transmission cars has lowered. Automatic cars are not only more popular, but more comfortable, easier to use and actually better in fuel efficiency. I've searched the Internet for graphs showing the proportion of automatic and manual cars over the years, but I haven't found any.

Is there a graph or chart on the Internet showing the production or sales between automatic and manual transmission cars over the years?

Edit: As JPhi1618 commented, this may vary a lot in different countries. I am more interested in the US, but an answer about another region or the whole world may still be helpful.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 17:14
  • I don't understand how this is opinion based. Overly broad perhaps. But it is entirely data based. The trick is just finding the data. Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 0:48

7 Answers 7


According to NY Daily News, only 6.5% of cars in the United States were Manual Transmission in 2013.

That number may even be an overestimate. More helpful is Fix.com, which actually has a useful chart:

1987: 29% of new car sales; 2003: 8.2%; 2013: 3.9%. 2014 Ford Focus: 30 MPG for manual, 31 MPG for automatic, 33 MPG for automatic with automatic with Super Fuel Economy option. 2007: 29% of vehicles offered with manual; 2012: 19% offered with manual.

  • That 29% in 1987 can not possibly be correct. 1967 maybe.
    – agentp
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 4:40
  • @agentp it's hard for me to have much context... that's before I was born! Still it doesn't seem that unbelievable to me... but it's hard to find good data. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 14:31

Short term answer: No. There are a lot of countries where the price difference between a manual and an automatic will matter.

Long term answer: Yes. But because of a different reason, I'd say - electric cars.

  • 2
    Disagree with your answer, re long term. An electric car has more in common with a manual car than an automatic car. But more correctly, it is neither. Auto/Manual refers to the gearbox between the engine and the wheels. An electric car does not have a gearbox between the engine and the wheels.
    – Aron
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 4:19
  • 2
    @Aron: The Tesla Roadster does. Originally, it had a two-speed gearbox. Now it has a one-speed gearbox. I can see the merits of arguing whether never shifting is truly "auto", but it does have a gearbox of some type. Of note, BMW calls their i3's single-speed an "auto".
    – MichaelS
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 6:19
  • @Aron most electric cars have a gearbox, so far I have only seen prototypes with wheels connected directly to electric motors. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 9:26
  • 4
    @Aron I don't understand your logic. The question "Will manual transmission cars disappear" is to be answered with "yes", if there are only cars without gearbox/transmission left.
    – Alexander
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 10:12

Unfortunately the answer is "Yes". In the US it might be extinct in a few years.

Let me back that up, I live in India and and 98% of the cars on the roads are manual. The automatic transmission is a luxury which most buyers just skip on.

That said, the only two things which inhibits the population to move towards automatic are price and fuel economy. Modern automatics are actually more fuel efficient so that problem is solved so realistically only price remains the issue.

Remember when the cellphones came out in 1995 only a select few had them in the US. We in India didn't even know those things existed. Then Nokia came along and made them cheap so by 2005 40% of the population had cell phones. Now its close to 100% so eventually everything will be moved to automatic.

Analysts have predicted that by 2030 we won't have manual transmissions at all.


No, my wife is disabled and can’t drive a manual car.

When we try to hire cars on holiday, we never find it easy to hire an automatic anywhere in Europe. (There was none when we went on holiday to Turkey, a lot of companies claim to have them on their web site, but after you try to book, you get told that they don’t.)

When she has brought new cars, the dealer was never able to provide a car for a test drive as an automatic is a special order item in the UK. Likewise when her car goes into a dealer to get serviced, they always claim that they will provide a replacement car, until they are told that an automatic is needed.

Automatic cars cost more than manuals in the UK when new, but cost about the same when purchased as 2nd hand.

So outside of the USA, manual transmissions are still the norm.


I am not sure that in real use an automatic is better than a manual in fuel consumption, rather that they are easier to fiddle the official figures with.

For example European fuel consumption and emissions testing controls the gear change points which make a massive difference to fuel consumption on the tests.

With an automatic the change point are not controlled by the test, rather by the gearbox. Hence the maker can tailor the gear change points to the test, even if that test is not really representative of real life. By this method they can gain in the test far more than they lose from the less efficient transmission and greater weight (gaining large but unwarranted tax advantages).

However many automatics are now really automated manual gearboxes. These are as efficient as manual gearboxes but also have the same testing advantage as a conventional automatic. The down side is they still have is a large weight penalty, along with the potential extra repair costs.

There are changes being carried out to the testing procedure imminently (being made a bit more urgent due to Volkswagon) which should bring in results that are more realistic. I suspect that when the higher fuel consumption for many automatics is officially recognised (with its impact of vehicle taxation) then the popularity of these automatics will decline.

Currently in the UK automatics are not uncommon, but not that common or popular. It might be interesting to use Autotrader to compare the number of manual and automatic 2nd hand cars of various models that are for sale.


In the UK at least I can confidently say that we are definitely not seeing a massive shift to automatic transmission on the scale that appears to be happening in the US. This article quotes a 7.6% shift from manual to automatic in the ten years between 2004 and 2013 (until end October) with just one in four cars sold being an automatic.

This slight increase can probably be explained by the advent of automated manual gearboxes which feature a traditional manual gearbox which is hydraulically operated and computer controlled - systems such as Fiat/Alfa Romeo's TCT or Volkswagen's DSG. In the UK, any vehicle without a clutch pedal is registered as automatic.

Bear in mind that the average engine size for new vehicles in the UK (source here) is 1735cc, 1.7 litres or 104 cubic inches. "Proper" automatic transmissions work very well when attached to a big V6 or V8 engine with lots of power. Attach them to a 1.0 litre 3-cyl engine with under 60bhp (a typical entry level vehicle in the UK) and they are woefully inadequate.

So I'd take issue with your statement that the percentage of manual transmission cars has lowered which therefore means production of manual cars will cease soon.


It may be the case in the US, but in France for example, only a very few minority uses automatic transmissions.

I actually can say I have seen an automatic transmission car only one in my life. And I think in countries like China, India, Russia it may be the same during a long long time.

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