With auto sales for 2023 streaming out earlier this month, we started wondering how many manual cars were sold in the US last year. While the popularity of the manual transmission has waned significantly from its peak, there is something of a small renaissance happening among enthusiasts.
Manual sales made up less than a percent of cars sold in the US in 2021, but last year, that number was around 1.7 percent. Not a lot, but not nothing. Many automakers have expanded their manual offerings, too, perhaps most notably Toyota bringing a manual to the Supra for the 2023 model year.
So we reached out to every automaker that sells a manual car in the US to share take rates for manual-transmission models. Some gave us detailed data, some declined to give anything. Here’s what we gleaned about the state of the manual in the U.S.
Integra Manual Take Rate: 22%
Right now, Acura sells two manual-transmission models, the Integra A-Spec, and the Integra Type S. All in all, 22 percent of the 32,090 Integras sold in 2023 had six speeds and a clutch pedal for a total of 7,060 cars.
Of course, that figure is down from the initial 70-percent manual take rate of early reservation-holders for the Integra A-Spec, though that’s unsurprising. Typically enthusiasts who want a specific sort of car move first, then the rest of the market comes in. And, 22 percent of all Integras is remarkable when you consider the manual is only available on the A-Spec Technology model – whose $37,995 base price is $5,000 greater than the base models – and the $52,995 Type S.
Maybe our surprise is misplaced. As with its Civic sibling, the Integra’s manual is one of the sweetest on the market.
M2 Manual Take Rate: 50%
M3 / M4 Manual Take Rate: 20%
Even as the BMW brand pushes forward with electrification, it still offers a standard manual transmission in the M2, M3, and M4. They’re popular, too, with over half of M2s sold here so equipped and around 20 percent of M3s and M4s. Worth noting, too, is that the base M3 and M4 are manual-only, while the more powerful Competition, Competition xDrive, and limited-run M3 CS and M4 CSL are/were automatic-only.
The manual has proven strong enough for BMW to put the gearbox into the Z4 M40i in a US-exclusive trim. Though this isn’t new for BMW. Both the E60 and F10 M5s were sold with sticks in America. But with BMW M going hybrid, the current M2, M3, and M4 will likely be the last with manuals.
Unfortunately, BMW doesn’t break down sales of M models versus the rest of their respective lineups, so we don’t know exactly how many manual cars it sold here last year.
CT4-V Blackwing / CT5-V Blackwing Manual Take Rate: Nearly 50%
Now that sixth-gen Camaro production has ended, Cadillac is the only GM brand to offer manual-transmission cars. A six-speed is standard on the CT4-V and CT5-V Blackwing, and the manual take rate in 2023 was nearly half for both models individually. As with BMW, we don’t know the total of Blackwings sold, but in any case, this is still a good number of cars.
Unfortunately, these will be Cadillac’s last manual-transmission cars, as the brand makes its transition to all-electric.
Camaro Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
A Chevrolet spokesperson didn’t provide take-rate figures for the Bow Tie’s only manual model left, the Camaro. As the Camaro ended production late last year, Chevy no longer has a manual offering.
Challenger Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
Dodge offered a six-speed manual on many Challenger versions, but the automaker declined to provide a take rate figure for the 44,960 units sold last year. This was the final year for Challenger sales, and while Dodge is working on a new two-door Charger to replace both the old Challenger and Charger, it’s unclear whether it will offer a manual at all. While an internal-combustion version of the new Charger is rumored to exist, it’s still unconfirmed.
Mustang / Bronco Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
While Ford offers a manual on both the Bronco and the Mustang, the automaker declined to provide take rates. A spokesperson simply says the company is “proud to continue offering manual-transmission options on the Bronco and Mustang.” For the Bronco, the manual pairs exclusively with the base 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s a unique seven-speed with an ultra-short crawler gear. For the current S650-generation Mustang, the manual is only offered on V8-powered models, the GT and Dark Horse.
Ford did reveal the initial manual take rate for the new Mustang to Road & Track last summer. As of late July, 27 percent of orders were for the six-speed.
Civic Manual Take Rate: 7%
The Integra’s more egalitarian sibling, the Civic, offers a manual on many trims. It’s available on both the Sport and Sport Touring Hatchback, and is the only transmission offered on both the Si and Type R. Honda’s manuals have long set the standard in the automotive industry, and this remains the case with the Civic’s six-speed, especially so in the Type R. Don’t be disappointed to learn that only 7 percent of buyers in the US go for the manual. But, when you consider Honda sold over 200,000 Civics last year, it’s one of the most popular manual cars in the country.
Elantra N Manual Take Rate: 25%
Hyundai’s only manual offering in the US is the Elantra N sport-compact, and of all those sold last year, around 25 percent had a manual transmission. A Hyundai spokesperson tells us that this figure has been consistent throughout the Elantra N’s life. The other transmission option for the sedan is an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Wrangler / Gladiator Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
The Wrangler and Gladiator are among the few trucks that still offer a manual transmission, but Jeep declined to provide figures. We suspect the take rate is fairly small, given the nature of the market. The manual is also only available with Stellantis’ venerable Pentastar V6, so there are a number of models where it isn’t available as an option.
Forte Manual Take Rate: Around 2%
We forgot the manual-transmission Kia Forte GT exists. It does, and we hope you’ll forgive our ignorance. It actually sits atop the Forte model hierarchy with a $26,315 base price. A Kia spokesperson tells us that as of quarter four 2023, the take rate was around 2 percent. Given that Kia sold 123,953 Fortes in 2023, we can assume around 2,479 are manuals.
It’s still available for the 2024 model year, so if you want a very rare car, put in an order with your Kia dealer.
MX-5 Miata Manual Take Rate: 60%
Mazda3 Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
Mazda has two manual offerings at the moment, the MX-5 Miata and the 3 hatchback. A spokesperson tells us that around 60 percent of Miata buyers go for the stick, but declined to provide a specific figure for the 3, though noted that take rates for the manual have declined year-over-year. We’ll take good news where we can get it, though, and with Miata sales up significantly over 2022, that means a lot of new manual MX-5s have arrived in customer hands. Around 5,834, to be specific.
The Miata’s 60-percent take rate is better than that of the Toyota GR86’s 48 percent, though lower than the Subaru BRZ’s remarkable near-80 percent. These three prove there’s a decent market for affordable, manual sports cars in the US. We hope it’s large enough for automakers to justify continuing these offerings.
John Cooper Works 2-Door Manual Take Rate: 51%
Cooper S 2-Door Manual Take Rate: 22%
All Other Models: 11%
Mini has long been a booster of manual transmissions in the US, and while its stick-shift options go away at the end of February, it sold a lot last year. The British brand offers a manual on all three versions of Cooper 2-Door (Base, S, and JCW), Cooper and Cooper S 4-Door, plus Cooper and Cooper S convertible. Nearly 51 percent of JCW two-doors ordered last year were manuals, something a Mini spokesperson suspects is a result of the brand announcing a manual discontinuation. Twenty-two percent of Cooper S 2-Door buyers went with the manual last year, while only around 11 percent ordered manuals on other models.
This year, Mini will have a big lineup refresh with new gas and electric versions of the Cooper 2-Door and Countryman SUV. The all-electric Aceman is also expected to join the party in 2024. With the new generation of Cooper models, the manual will no longer be on the options list.
Versa and Z Manual Take Rate: Not Provided
While Nissan offers a manual on both the Versa subcompact sedan – a five-speed no less, on the $17,405 base model – and the Z sports car, it declined to provide take rate figures for either. Notably, the new Nismo Z is automatic-only, a decision that’s proved controversial among enthusiasts.
718 / 911 Manual Take Rate (On Models With Manual Offered): 40%
The sports-car giant doesn’t have up-to-date figures, but a spokesperson notes that as of a few months ago, where both transmissions are on the options list, the split was generally 40-percent manual, 60-percent dual-clutch on 718 and 911. The spokesperson doubts that has changed much.
In a lot of ways, Porsche arguably spurred on the manual-transmission renaissance, first with the manual-only 911 R in 2016 and then by reintroducing the option on the 911 GT3 in 2017. The manual GT3 has since proved hugely popular, especially in the US, where at various points it has made up the vast majority of sales here.
BRZ Manual Take Rate: 79%
WRX Manual Take Rate: 74%
Impreza/Crosstrek Manual Take Rate: 1.6%
By our reckoning, Subaru has the best take-rate figures going. A spokesperson tells us “our enthusiast buyers have overwhelmingly preferred shifting their own gears.” For the WRX last year, 74 percent of buyers opted for the manual while over 79 percent of BRZ customers ordered the stick. The WRX is likely one of the most popular manual cars in the entire country, given that of the 24,681 total cars sold, 18,264 had manuals. That’s greater than all manual Civics combined.
We’re not sure why more BRZ buyers go for the manual than Toyota GR86 customers, but we’re just happy that lots of these cars are out on the market. The 2023 model year was also the last for the manual Impreza and Crosstrek, and they made up around 6 percent of sales.
GR86 Manual Take Rate: 48%
GR Supra Manual Take Rate: 43%
Tacoma Manual Take Rate: 1.4%
Toyota actually has one of the most diverse manual offerings in the industry. A six-speed is available on both the GR86 and GR Supra 3.0 — its first full year of availability — and the Tacoma pickup. It’s also the only transmission available on the GR Corolla. A spokesperson tells us that for 2023, 48 percent of US customers went for the manual on the GR86, while 43 percent opted for it on the GR Supra. That totals to 5,317 and 1,140 units, respectively.
Just 1.4 percent of Tacoma buyers opted for the manual, or 3,287 of the 234,768 total sold last year. It’s not a ton, but enough for Toyota to justify carrying the manual forward to the new 2024 model truck.
But the most popular manual Toyota is the one that offers no other transmission—the GR Corolla. Toyota sold 5,567 last year.
Golf GTI Manual Take Rate: 50%
Golf R Manual Take Rate: 40%
Jetta GLI Manual Take Rate: 40%
Jetta S/Sport Manual Take Rate: 5%
VW has notably revealed the new 2025 GTI, and while it brings several welcome changes, it drops the six-speed manual option. But, over the course of 2023, manuals proved popular among American Volkswagen buyers. A spokesperson told us around 40 percent of Jetta GLI and Golf R buyers went for the manual, while half of GTI buyers made the same choice. Volkswagen also offers a manual on the Jetta S and Sport, though the take rate for those was only around 5 percent.
So, why is VW killing the manual GTI (and presumably Golf R) in the States if they’re so popular? It’s because development of the upcoming Mark 8.5 Golf began when VW was anticipating harsher Euro 7 emissions rules. Those were since relaxed, but not soon enough to get the manual back in the car. And while U.S. GTI buyers bought the manual in big numbers, globally, it only accounted for around 5 percent of total sales.
While manual cars have experienced a nice renaissance over the last few years, it’s still hardly a plurality. Yet, its niche seems to be comfortable. Automakers have sizable take-rate figures to report on specialty models, and good volume on more mainstream offerings like the Civic. Sure, we’ll soon lose manual Minis and GTIs, but we’ve got plenty of others to make up for the absence.