Get On The Stick!
Many of my readers are car enthusiasts and you know that I’ve always been a fan of driving a stick shift vehicle. The driving experience is so much better than driving an automatic. Yeah, I know I’ve had the car geeks tell me that an automatic transmission is faster at shifting now than a manual transmission. Who cares! It’s not just about speed, it’s about the experience of pushing down on the clutch, putting the vehicle into gear and controlling the transmission as you drive, instead of feeling like you’re in an airplane that is on automatic pilot.
Granted it’s much harder to text and drive, talk on the cell phone and drive or do other distracting things when driving a stick shift, which is why every teenager in America should be forced to drive a stick. Now, I don’t want to be called a hypocrite since I’m not currently driving a stick shift in my 2010 Mercedes Benz C300 4Matic, but that’s not by choice. Mercedes-Benz doesn’t offer that vehicle in a stick or I would drive a manual transmission. What really shocked me was when BMW quit offering a stick for their 3 series and I have had a number of clients ask me to find them older 3 series just so they could drive a stick shift.
ONLY 10% OF SALES
I understand that manufacturers have looked at the fact that only 10% of the population wants to drive a stick shift. I get it, but that’s still millions of potential drivers and Mini is taking advantage of this, which is strange since they are owned by BMW that is moving away from the stick shift. That’s when you know that they are really two different car companies, when the left hand is going in one direction and the right is going in another direction. Again, it’s all about the experience!
Cadillac gets it with their new line of sports vehicles like the ATS that you can get in a stick. Toyota Scion, Ford, Fiat and Mini all have strong sales of the stick shift, but more companies are doing away with the stick shift as an option in their new vehicles. Driving schools don’t even offer it as an option anymore, which is crazy to me. Everyone should learn how to drive a stick shift, it’s simply not American! I can’t tell you how many people I meet each year who do not know how to drive a stick shift. They wouldn’t be able to buy that classic VW Beetle and experience the fun of kicking it into gear or rolling down a hill to jump start it.
Instead, many of the people today are looking for an iPod connector instead of under the hood, let alone for a manual transmission and that’s really sad. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved from death by driving a manual transmission, which I really miss in my Mercedes-Benz. How you ask? Those who have had to downshift to avoid a hazard in the road, a stupid driver or to pound the gas for immediate acceleration to avoid being creamed by a Mac truck, you know what I’m talking about. I’m sure you’ve had those days as well. I think teenagers are the best candidates for driving a stick shift and contrary to the opinion of most parents, they are actually much safer than an automatic because they have to learn how to actually control the transmission that drives the vehicle.
I hope that more manufacturers bite the bullet and make an investment in the stick shift and it’s super cool to see that some of them are catering to the niche’ market. This is a great article with more information on this topic that I recently read at Ad Age magazine.
Cool Car Guy Rating: Long Live The Stick!
Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy
John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @coolcarguy