When the automatic transmission became the “it girl” of the car world in the 1950s, Americans began to snub the stick-shift. While sports car enthusiasts stood by manual transmissions — claiming that it’s not fun to drive an automatic Ford (NYSE:F) Mustang — most Americans purchased automatic versions of Honda‘s (NYSE:HMC), Toyota‘s (NYSE:TM) and other automobiles.
Today, however, manual gearboxes are trendy again. USA Today recently reported that stick-shifts are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. Here are four reasons why.
- Price: Cars with sticks are less expensive than the same models with automatic transmissions. Sometimes that price difference can be more than $1,000.
- Performance: Like the Mustang example above, more and more people think manuals are simply more fun to drive.
- Habit: Drivers who love manual transmissions are loyal to them and tend to buy another one when they’re ready for a trade-in.
- User-friendliness: Advances in technology makes using stick-shifts much easier to today than they were 10 or 20 years ago.