In the United States, electric vehicles outsold cars equipped with a manual transmission for the first time in 2019. As it develops a new generation of battery-powered models, Hyundai remains committed to keeping the stick alive in the foreseeable future in the hot-rodded cars developed by its performance-focused N division.
"Where possible, we would like to continue to offer buyers the choice of a manual transmission for purists or an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission," explained Howard Lam, one of the company's product planners, in an interview with Australian website CarSales.
Catering to enthusiasts isn't always good for business, and Hyundai admitted the number of buyers raising their hand for a hot hatch with an automatic transmission is significant. That's why it added an eight-speed, paddle-shifted dual-clutch automatic transmission to the Veloster N (and the i30 N sold overseas) earlier in 2020.
Hyundai's next N-badged model will be a spicier evolution of the i20, a small hatchback not sold in the United States. It will be aimed directly at the Ford Fiesta ST, and it will come standard with a six-speed stick. American dealers will receive the Kona N also under development, though its transmission options remain unconfirmed. And, we're still waiting for Hyundai to make the mid-engined, Veloster-derived RM concept a reality.
Over in Wolfsburg, rival Volkswagen is singing a similar tune. Autoblog learned the eighth-generation Golf GTI due out for the 2022 model year will come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Killing the stick in our market wasn't an option, because about 40% of GTI and R buyers order their car with three pedals in the footwell.