Fewer and fewer driving tests are being done in cars with a manual transmission, a trend only set to continue.
Statistics released to Newshub under the Official Information Act reveal 20,000 fewer restricted tests were done in a manual car in 2021 than what was done a decade earlier.
A touch over 12,000 Kiwis sat their restricted test in a manual car last year. In 2011, that figure was above 33,000.
Just under 66,000 people did the test in an automatic car last year, more than double what was done in 2011.
The data analyses restricted tests as testing officers are required to note what kind of transmission is used for the test. The full license test does not require this.
Automobile Association (AA) Driving School general manager Roger Venn told Newshub people aren’t sitting tests in manuals because it is harder, and there is a lack of manuals nowadays.
“The easiest way to get your restricted and full is to do it in auto, so I get it,” he said. “Whether that’s right is another matter.
“There’s a raft of reasons why manuals are decreasing in popularity. One of the main reasons is there’s a scarcity of manuals full-stop in New Zealand.
“Even if you want to learn stick, we can teach you [to drive] stick in one of our vehicles.
“But then if you want to practice with a mentor… it’s difficult to find a suitable vehicle, especially if you’re looking for a vehicle that’s affordable, safe, modern and all the rest of it.”
Since 2019, sales for electric vehicles have begun outnumbering sales of cars with a manual gearbox.
Some manufacturers, like Toyota, are trying to keep manuals relevant by patenting ideas to create stick-shift electric cars. However, these are a long way off being production-ready.