This surge in popularity comes despite a 10-percent drop in the percentage of new models offering stick shifts in the past five years, according to the report. The change in consumer behavior has surprised some automakers, including Ford, who told the newspaper that demand for a manual in the Focus is nearly 10 percent, more than double the automaker's original forecast.
Of course before we get too excited – or give credit to the Car and Driver "Save the Manuals" campaign – let's keep in mind that a decade ago, when we first started to hear the groundswell against the manual from automakers, the take rate for manuals was still running above 8 percent. And we're still faced with an inevitable demographic shift as Millennials, born after automatic transmissions became dominant, grow up. The best we can hope for is to teach those willing to learn and hope to keep the manual tranny around as long as possible.