All of the people I meet overseas are shocked when I answer their “I bet you had a hard time learning to shift gears” with a “No, I’ve never owned a car for me that didn’t have a manual transmission.” Yep, you read that right…every car that I have had for me has had a manual transmission:
- 1988 Jeep Cherokee Chief — 5 speed
2000 Mazda Protoge — yep, it was a 5 speed too
The next one I buy for me, I expect will be the same thing.
But, I’m curious about a few things:
- How did automatics become so popular in the US?
- Why are automatics not so popular overseas?
- Do you think it is an essential skill to learn to drive an stick shift?
Anyone want to chime in?
image from maria palma via flickr