These Are The States And Cities Where Manual Gearbox Cars Sell The Most

Driving a stick shift has become pretty much a lost art in the United States in recent years.

As automatic transmissions have become widespread across all car segments (not to mention more capable and efficient), there’s little incentive for customers to buy cars with manual gearboxes anymore.

We’re obviously talking about regular buyers that are not necessarily car buffs. Gearheads will continue to buy stick shift as long as automakers provide them, although not even car enthusiasts can ignore the advantages of dual-clutch transmissions, for example.

Only 3.7 percent of CarMax sales nationwide are for manual cars

But just how many people still buy manual transmission cars in the United States? And what are the states that favor these vehicles? CarMax, the nation’s largest used-car retailer, decided to delve into its data to find answers. The results are quite surprising. All following percentages apply to CarMax used car sales from August 31, 2017, through August 31, 2018.

For example, only 3.7 percent of the sales of CarMax vehicles nationwide are from stick shift cars. The downward trend is very obvious. In 1995, 26.8 percent of the company’s sales were for manual vehicles. That accounts for a drop of 86.2 percent.

New Mexico buys the highest percentage of stick shift cars

Stick shift cars are more popular in some places than in others, so CarMax also analyzed geographic data. Here’s what they found.

The states with the highest share of purchases of manual transmission cars are New Mexico, Idaho, and Rhode Island, with more than 5 percent each. On the opposite side, the states where stick shift cars are the least popular are Illinois and Mississippi, with little over 2 percent each.

We get it why people in a southern state with warm weather like New Mexico want to drive manual transmission vehicles. Why doesn’t the same thing happen in Mississippi, though? One explanation could be that the latter is an agricultural state where pickup trucks reign supreme. And no one wants to drive a manual pickup.

El Paso is the city with the largest share of manual car purchases

Finally, when it comes to cities that have the greatest purchase rates of stick-shift cars, the champion is El Paso, Texas. Slightly more than 6 percent of CarMax customers pick cars with manual transmissions there, with Dothan, Alabama a close second.

The city with the smallest share of manual transmission cars? Birmingham, Alabama, with less than 2 percent. The latter is hard to explain because it enjoys the same weather as Dothan in the same state. Yet, the popularity of stick-shift cars is much smaller in Birmingham.

more photos...

Graphics credits: CarMax

  • Honda NSX-R

    I’m surprised about New York in that CarMax case study

    • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

      I’m not.

      A vast majority of NY isn’t as densely populated as NYC.

  • the shift knob in the Jag looks so cheap. Looks out of a 1 0 000€ car. Should make you want to touch it and use it. I’m the type of guy who could buy an old Ferrari, or even an Audi R8 V10 in manual just for the feel of it. A Mazda mx-5 is more inspiring !

    • robotlogic

      ” A Mazda mx-5 is more inspiring !” Than an old Ferrari or an Audi R8? Are you mad sir? And MX5 is an under powered clown car for those with only the most basic of driving skills.

      • TheHake

        Oooooooo you just opened Pandora’s Box…

      • Did you read my comment or just had some anger to get out? Have you tried yoga? Beer? Beach? Walk by the sea? Women?

        • robotlogic

          Yoga?? F no! Beer, yes all the time. Tried walking by the sea but I wasn’t allowed to bring my beer or dog so F that! Woman, yep as long as they don’t drive a MX5 because those are usually to thick for my taste. And did I mention MX5’s are only for short people? Yep, tall people need not even try to get in one.

          • A mazda shift knob still looks better and sportier than this Jaguar (looks out of a Daewoo). And I loved the manual gear box, how it felt in the hand, the short throw… In the CX-5 and MX-5. Now if you’re too big for the MX-5, don’t like the hair dresser image of it. That’s an other problem. If it’s a matter of thickness maybe yoga could help. Walks on the beach not sure. But sure the feel of a gear box depends on everyone’s taste. Mazda, Porsche and VW brands and (rip) Saab make/made the best Manual Gear boxes for gears and pedals feel. I’d love a car such as manual R8 for the sense of occasion each gear would have.

  • Craig

    Obviously more SOY is consumed in Illinois than in New Mexico.

    • Mike anonymous

      Why is everybody hating on soy?… (unless your allergic of course,) what did you ever do to you?

      What’s wrong with soy,.. will somebody tell me.

      (In all seriousness though, I don’t personally eat soy products, but is there something I’m missing out on).

      • Craig

        I think ‘someone’ has an awful lot of free time on their hand!! lol MIKE!! The joke about SOY is that SOY [many believe] increases estrogen levels in males. Causing everything from ‘man-boobs’ [gynecomastia] to other things. [including an ina

  • TheHake

    Over here it’s the complete opposite. Vast majority of cars are manual.

  • XtremWize

    In Europe automatics are for invalids or old with knee artrosis.

  • Trackhacker

    Such a shame. So many noobs on the roads today.

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