Manual transmission-equipped vehicles have fallen out of favour with Australian new car buyers, and these new figures indicates demand among new drivers continues to decline.

    According to figures provided by Transport for New South Wales (NSW), the split of people doing their licence test in a car with a manual transmission has been on the decline since 2014.

    In 2014, out of 217,000 driving tests completed in the state only 43,000 were conducted in a car with a manual.

    This means only 19.9 per cent, or almost one-in-five people in New South Wales did their driving test in a manual-equipped car in 2014.

    Fast forward to 2020, and of the 213,000 driving tests completed in New South Wales, only 29,000 were completed in a manual – equivalent to 13.6 per cent of people going for their driver’s licence.

    The number of learners taking their driving test in New South Wales during 2021 decreased to 183,000 due to COVID lockdowns; 25,000 of these were conducted in a manual car. This equates to 13.7 per cent of licence tests.

    Despite the brief rise in terms of manual transmission driving test split in New South Wales, it plummeted to 11.1 per cent during 2022.

    A total of 260,000 learners in New South Wales completed their driving test, and 29,000 of them did it in a vehicle equipped with a manual transmission.

    In New South Wales if you pass your driving test in an car with an automatic transmission, you can only drive automatics until you’re issued with a P2 provisional or unrestricted licence.

    If people on their P1 provisional licence in New South Wales wish to remove this condition before receiving their P2 or unrestricted licence, they must pass a driving test in a manual vehicle.

    People on their P1 provisional licence in New South Wales can only drive a car with a manual transmission if they’re being supervised by a person with an unrestricted licence.

    This latest data from Transport for NSW follows figures provided by VicRoads indicating only 7 per cent of driving tests completed in Victoria over the last 12 months have been in a manual transmission-equipped car.

    Vehicles with manual transmission options have been dropping like flies over the last few years in Australia. Some recent examples include the Mazda 3 and CX-3, Mini hatch, Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail, Toyota Corolla and RAV4, as well as the Volkswagen Golf and Polo.

    MORE: Manual transmission licensing is all but dead according to latest figures

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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