As much as it pains us to say it, manual transmissions are on their way out. While car enthusiasts bemoan the matter incessantly, as we just did, the reality is that most drivers aren’t interested in owning something with a stick. It’s gotten to a point where many automakers no longer offer vehicles with a manual transmission, or just keep one high-performance model around with an optional clutch pedal just to appease a subset of their customer base.
Toyota, which sells more manual models than most, recently spilled its guts to CarBuzz after the outlet requested the company reveal the percentage of its new cars still sold with a manual while attending the Supra launch event.
The resulting figures are about what you’d expect.
At the time of this writing, Toyota still sells manual variants of the Yaris, Corolla, 86 coupe, and Tacoma pickup — albeit not in every trim. However, the world’s most prolific automobile (the Corolla) saw less than 1 percent of U.S. buyers opt for a manual transmission in 2018. Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell said that breaks down to roughly 2,800 vehicles. “It’s not very high for the Corolla as a whole, but it is better if you just count the hatchback,” Hubbell said, adding that roughly 15 percent were sold with a stick.
Once again, hatchback owners prove themselves to be the real automotive enthusiast — or perhaps this author’s disgusting bias is showing. Still, it should be said that Toyota intentionally positioned the new-for-2019 hatch as the more performance-oriented choice, even if we were to go by looks alone. It’s possible the company could boost those manual numbers a bit if it found a way to run with the hatch’s diet-performance image while adding some power, but without breaking the bank.
The 86, which you might expect to have a more even split, as it is quite literally an enthusiast car, only saw a third of its brethren shipped with a stick in 2018. Considering that a six-speed manual was supposed to be part of its overall appeal, and that stick-shift models actually boast five additional horsepower, this was quite the surprise.
Meanwhile, the Yaris and Tacoma saw around 5 percent of U.S. customers choosing to row their own gears in 2018. That breaks down to about 12,280 pickups and just 97 examples of the itty-bitty hatchback.
With that in mind, it should be no surprise as to why Toyota decided against providing the Yaris with a manual option for the 2020 model year and has already relegated clutch pedals to well-equipped Tacoma TRDs with the beefier V6.
Yeah, yeah. We know you hate it. But the manual is living on borrowed time, continuing to lose prominence as fewer and fewer adults bother to learn how to drive stick. We’re just glad some manufacturers still bothering providing them, as there’s not much of a financial case to be made anymore.
[Images: Toyota Motor Corp.]