March 01, 2019

Stick shift on life support with most automakers: Are millennials to blame?

David MenziesMission Specialist

The Canadian International Auto Show wrapped up recently, and I left feeling deflated because fewer and fewer vehicles are available with a manual transmission.

Sadly, the stick shift is on life support with some automakers no longer offering any models with a stick, including Audi.

Last summer, Audi announced that none of their 2019’s destined for the U.S. and Canada would be available with a manual transmission.

What the hell? Audi makes some nifty performance machines including the Audi R8 which means if I ever do win the lottery, I’ll have to buy a used R8!

Besides the fun factor of a stick shift, it also makes your car theft-proof.

Personally, I think the decline of the stick shift is directly related to the rapid rise of mobile devices.

Way to go yet again millennials!

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commented 2019-03-03 16:21:54 -0500
Al, I promise you, that I win a Lottery, we will take yours to the Salt Flats.. Wish me luck.. Fingers crossed…
commented 2019-03-03 14:38:05 -0500
Andrew, I’ve owned many vehicles over the years. High performance, and others… The Automatics today are far better than any Manual… In fact, the Automatics are faster than any Manual Transmission.. And, they get better gas mileage… My Golf R is just one example… As for EV’s? They are useless to those of us that wish to drive, as in long distance across the Country, or to another Country… EV’s are expensive, and not Eco-friendly.. Maybe good in the City, but that’s it… And where does the electricity come from to recharge those batteries? How is that electricity produced? Where do those batteries go, when they die? What is the expense to the Environment to build those batteries? Odd, that no one on the “Eco” side has the answers….
commented 2019-03-03 14:18:35 -0500
Keith, my wife could not drive my ’85 Mustang GT… No matter how many times I tried to help her with it, she could not get the hang of it… Some guys might say this a blessing, but I wanted her to be able to drive it. In the event of an emergency, she would have to take me to the hospital… I also believed that she would have enjoyed driving that car. I wanted her to experience the same fun factor that I did.. That was a sweet car…
commented 2019-03-03 03:18:38 -0500
I learned stick shift on an old Land Rover. A glass chinned, gutless wonder. My first car was a VW Beetle with that mushy feeling tranny. We called them the ’VW mystery shift" because you never knew what gear you were really in until you let the clutch out.
commented 2019-03-02 20:13:11 -0500
I can’t speak for all the ladies, but I always wanted to learn to drive a standard, and I finally did, in my 30’s. I’ve owned 3-standards over the years, but not as nice as any of yours. Sadly, age has been creeping up on me, so I’ve had to revert back to an automatic. I’ll always miss driving a standard – I thought it was a blast!
commented 2019-03-02 16:27:43 -0500
Kids these days…

If I ever bought another ICE car it would probably be a stick shift considering how lemony automatics can be, but I doubt I will buy one, EVs don’t really have transmissions just some reduction gears.
commented 2019-03-02 15:17:13 -0500
I see only Male Comments on this page, perhaps the Ladies find gear shifts
commented 2019-03-02 12:34:43 -0500
ROBERT SLOANE commented 10 hours ago
Al, if I only had the money, and the Garage space…
Aye, laddie. That is my problem too. I only lack 3 things: money, space and health. I really had hopes to run it on the salt flats one day. Maybe we can pool our resources and pull it off.
commented 2019-03-02 03:42:30 -0500
Andy, yes I also remember those days.. I skied Hockley Valley many times back in the day.. And digging a hole on Wasaga Beach, burying that cooler full of cold ones. I remember the time (early 70’s) when we did not have to do that. We could walk onto the beach with a cooler. Those were good times.. Then, the Authorities decided to put the kibosh on our party…
commented 2019-03-02 03:11:09 -0500
Oh to be young again, driving my tangerine coloured stick-shift Karmann-Ghia through the Hockley Valley on the way to Wasaga Beach again… A cooler in the back seat, and a lovely, lovely blonde lady, with dynamite legs, laughing all the way…
commented 2019-03-02 02:08:17 -0500
Al, if I only had the money, and the Garage space…
commented 2019-03-02 01:58:50 -0500
Dirk, I searched for a used Golf R, but could not find a good one in my area. Plenty in Quebec and out West, but not in Southern Ontario. I wanted one that I could tune, once the warranty was up. I ended up having to purchase new, because I needed a car. I was about to quit my job, which came with a company truck.. So, I chose the R because of it’s specs. The Focus RS was also on my list. It comes with a Manual only, and it was $10,000 more. I wanted all wheel drive, and could not get that in a GTI. Personally, I was not keen on the Tartan either… Hopefully I will have the opportunity to “tune” my R someday, but for now it gives me all the performance I need.. Excellent mileage. Very fast. I never have to replace a Clutch.. All things considered, the R is an amazing machine. Still, I can understand the fun factor of driving the Manual.. My ’72 Celica ST, and my ’85 Mustang GT were Manuals. My Celica was tuned by Lakeshore Toyota with full racing jets, and I installed the Header and Free Flow exhaust system myself. That was a quick car. Still, no where near the performance of my Golf R…
commented 2019-03-02 01:24:50 -0500
John, I had a ’77 F-150 4×4, with a 4 speed Manual. The transmission continuously popped out of gear (at speed). And for no reason. Ford could not figure it out or fix it. It was in the Shop far to often. Just a bad design, I guess. I ordered it with a 302 V-8, but the Salesman messed up, and it came with an inline 300 six. And I waited 3 months for it. I needed it for plowing snow, so was concerned. Ford Engineers said it had plenty of torque for pushing snow, and it did. It also had an 8 foot box, which was very handy. Funny thing about that truck though, school buses were quicker. Still, it would take me almost anywhere off road, and across rivers. And I think most of the trucks today have shorter boxes only because most are ordered with 4 doors. You can still get 8 foot boxes.
commented 2019-03-02 00:52:22 -0500
If you wan to end distracted driving go back to bias ply tires, manual trannys, manual steering. I’ll stick to my old silverado with 6.2 diesel, NV4500 4 speed, extended cab 4 dub a ya dee and it still gets 32 mpg on the highway. No electronic fuel control.
AND it has steel bumpers instead of these new plastic diapers. Just got to get rid of the molded headlights and swap them out for rectangular ones.

As the aircraft designers used to say- simplicate and add lightness.

Someday my 53 Studebaker will get back on the road:

The Studebaker V-8 is the most powerful production based small block in the world.
1000 HP
832 Ft-Lbs of torque
299 CI
Factory Block
Factory Heads
Factory Crank
Factory Rods.
“Always give more than you promise”.
commented 2019-03-02 00:33:08 -0500
Mike that is only true with the old ones. The new manuals have that clutch disconnect so it won’t start once you release the clutch.
commented 2019-03-01 23:45:48 -0500
You’re fortunate that you can drive. I’ll never be able to drive because I’m almost blind. I have to mooch rides because my vision is far too poor. A self-driving car would give me freedon which only you sighted car drivers enjoy. So stop complaining about how expensive it is and give guys like me a ride once in a while.
commented 2019-03-01 22:45:37 -0500
90 days and no sign of a hammer falling.
commented 2019-03-01 22:10:46 -0500
There’s a reason I like them: you can push-start them if the battery is dead.
commented 2019-03-01 19:59:08 -0500
My Ford F-150 has a standard transmission…..with an 8 ft.(yes 8 ft.) box.(another “dinosaur” feature…). I suppose I will just have to keep servicing and maintaining this truck (it is presently 14 years old) if these features are no longer available.
I like shifting gears and the box holds 2 cord of firewood.(face cords…not bush cords). It also gets excellent gas mileage.
commented 2019-03-01 18:57:00 -0500
My 6 speed TDI VW is a blast to drive, especially after the tune. Never trade that for auto.
commented 2019-03-01 18:22:01 -0500
The stick shift is going away because nobody wants them anymore. Even in pickup trucks with those newer 5 and 6 speed Allison transmissions you don’t need a stick to pull a heavy load, and you don’t have to worry about them breaking down. I’ve never seen a transmission take what they will take, and just keep right on going.
commented 2019-03-01 18:10:03 -0500
Kameron, a friend of mine had one of the first Diesel Rabbits… Could not kill that car.. We would take it on Road Trips… It was governed, so he could just put the pedal to the metal… That was a good car… My new Golf R is loaded with Electronics, but I do not bother with that. I just enjoy the performance.. And it’s an amazing car… I’m an Electronics Engineering Technician, by trade.. I enjoyed tinkering with my ’85 Mustang GT… The last year for a carbureted 302.. In ’86, they went to fuel injection…
commented 2019-03-01 17:54:41 -0500
My Golf R is an amazing car, but I still stay back from the vehicle in front of me.. It does not matter Manual or Automatic…. It’s the Driver… Look out for yourself, and watch what’s going on around you…
commented 2019-03-01 17:50:14 -0500
Alberta Maga, truth.. Every time I see a multiple rear end collision on the Highway, it’s due to distracted driving, following to close, or a combination of the two… I will not get into the car with a friend of mine because he drives too close, and at high speed.. 1 foot away at 120KPH on the highway… And we’re in our sixties… Some day, he will learn the hard way.. It’s scary… I guess he thinks himself as invincible… So, it’s not just the younger drivers..
commented 2019-03-01 17:48:42 -0500
I think a stick shift helped keep the drivers attention on the road more than an auto as you had to think about your driving more and plan ahead somewhat. That is all i owned for about 19 years.
commented 2019-03-01 17:41:35 -0500
Robert Sloane you got that right. Too many drivers distracted , even without phones many are lost in their own little world. It is horrible.
commented 2019-03-01 17:41:15 -0500
Personally don’t want a new car, too much electronics, not much van be repaired but requires replacement, and most are over priced plastic crap. I would like to have something that has no computer in it, carburated with a distributor, can be standard or auto…….like a late 60’s chevy pick up. My first car was a ’84 VW Rabbit GTI and I drove it till it died. I loved driving that car and would love to get my hands on another one but, they are hard to find in decent condition
commented 2019-03-01 17:36:41 -0500
Lee, my first cars had bias ply tires. Most were 4 on the floor.. The problem today, has nothing to do with the Transmission… It has to do with “distracted driving”… Cell phones.. Even driving an Automatic, many today are still using their Cell phones… Back in the day, we just had to worry about spilling our beer…
commented 2019-03-01 17:21:53 -0500
I learned to drive in a ‘68 Toyota Corona with a four-on-the-floor, rear wheel drive, and bias-ply tires. In the middle of winter in a part of the country where ’a good day for a driving lesson’ meant the snow was not deep enough to come up to the underside of the floorboards.
Nowadays I see the roads full of drivers who learned everything they know about driving in their mommy’s automatic-transaxle front-drive Civic and I don’t have to wonder why collision insurance premiums are as high as they are.