What’s quite surprising about VW’s manual numbers is they reveal Golf Sportwagen buyers really like shifting for themselves. A whopping 28% of Sportwagens (including Alltracks) had a manual transmission, or roughly 3 in 10. Not every automaker we’ve talked with has broken out sales to that level of detail, but Toyota did reveal that the Corolla hatchback specifically had a 15% take rate. And with Honda, the Civic overall take rate was at 13.6%, which included the manual-exclusive Si and Type R. So VW wagon buyers are definitely wanting to keep the manual transmission alive.
When we get to the regular Golf hatchback, Jetta sedan, and overall percentage, manual popularity looks more like what we’ve seen from other automakers. Of all Golfs, 10% had a stick, and 7% of Jettas had one. Overall, manual transmission sales accounted for 5% of VW’s total 2018 sales. That falls just below Subaru’s 7% overall take rate in 2018, but well ahead of Honda’s 2.8% in the same year. So manual transmissions are still a niche, but at least it’s nice to see that it’s a significant portion of select models, which should keep the option around for a while.