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Stick shift sales are up! Manual transmissions are trending! Rowing your own is back in style! Drivers are swapping out autos for cog-swappers!

What ever you call a traditional, stick shift car, know that we are in the middle of a three-pedal renaissance. As recently as 2021, manual transmission vehicles accounted for less than 1% of all car sales. The 2023 car sales numbers are finally in and manual transmissions were in 1.7% of them.

I know, that’s just a sliver of total vehicle sales. And it will probably stay that way. But hey, it’s still over a 50% increase in just two years. So let us manual lovers enjoy the moment here!

The six-speed stick shift lever in a manual 2007 BMW M6 V10.
2007 BMW M6 | Cars & Bids

What is going on? Some might argue that enthusiast always loved manuals, but automakers are finally offering exciting stick shifts. Examples include the bone-rattling Cadillac Blackbird and the reincarnated Toyota Supra that finally added a manual configuration for 2023. But that doesn’t tell the entire story.

Let’s look at the Mazda Miata, a beloved sports car since 1989. For years, it only came as a stick shift. Though it is now available with an automatic, 60% of Miata buyers opt for the old cog-swapper. You might even call it the quintessential manual transmission car. Well, the 2023 Miata sales numbers are through the roof, up about 40% over 2022. That’s wild for a car that’s going on 35 years old.

It appears that we’re not just in a stick shift renaissance, but we’re in a proper sports car renaissance.

Motor1 reached out to every automaker to ask for their 2023 manual transmission “take rate.” Here are the manufacturers that offered numbers.

Make/ModelManual Take Rate
Acura Integra22%
BMW M250%
BMW M3 / M420%
Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing 50%
Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing50%
Honda Civic7%
Hyundai Elantra N25%
Kia Forte2%
Mazda Miata60%
Mini Cooper S22%
Mini John Cooper Works51%
All other Mini Cooper models22%
Porsche 718/911 models with manuals40%
Subaru BRZ79%
Subaru WRX74%
Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek1.6%
Toyota GR8648%
Toyota GR Supra43%
Toyota Tacoma1.4%
VW Golf GTI50%
VW Golf R40%
VW Jetta GLI40%
VW Jetta S/Sport5%

I am very curious what the take rate was for Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator manual transmissions. But considering how low Tacoma manual sales are, I don’t expect the Jeep numbers to be near sports car levels. Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Japanese car and German car crowd are more into manuals than the Detroit die hards. But without a response from Ford, Chevrolet, or Dodge, we don’t know.

Next, read about when a manual transmission proved an effective theft prevention device, or see every car available with a manual transmission in 2024 in the video below: