Report: One-third of Americans can’t drive a manual

A research project commissioned by Cadillac performed in 2020 reveals that one-third of Americans do not know how to drive a manual transmission car; only half have ever owned a car with a manual transmission.

This data is interesting as manual cars fall out of popularity with drivers, and also are being offered in fewer vehicles. Often limited to lower-trim levels, originally manuals were cheaper and automatic transmissions were considered a paid upgrade. Lately, manual transmissions are only being offered in high performance sports cars, if at all.

With electric vehicles rising in numbers, and automatics exceeding in MPG performance, it seems that manual transmissions will continue to dwindle in availability.

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How many Americans know how to drive stick?

Using this research, that would indicate approx. 200 million Americans know how to operate a stick.

Interest in learning how to drive stick is low among those that do not currently know how to drive a stick, which doesn’t look good for the overall knowledge of manual transmissions.

Strong interest (very interested) in learning to drive a manual is low among those who have never owned/leased a manual (10%) and/or don’t know how to drive one (7%).

Download the full report for more insightful info in buyer intent regarding sticks, broken down by demographics.

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