An Auckland car dealer for one of New Zealand's top distributors told me quite a few of his young colleagues couldn't drive manuals.

Put your hand up if you can drive a manual car? Now put it down ... and on to a stick shift as it may well be extinct soon.

It seems that the ability to drive both a manual and auto vehicle now puts you in the minority, and if you know how to use a column shift transmission (my hand is up) then you're a freak!

At a motoring launch in Australia last week, a 35-year-old car company executive told a few of us journos that she couldn't drive a manual. There were gasps and shaking of heads (and that was just from her car company colleagues).

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"But you're missing out on driving some great products in your range," I lectured her.
She shrugged and replied, "if someone wants to pay for me to learn how to drive a manual, then fine".

But the sad thing it that in the motoring industry, there are more and more employees who can't drive a stick shift.

An Auckland car dealer for one of New Zealand's top distributors told me quite a few of his young colleagues couldn't drive manuals. At here at work, we have to run a fleet of autos for the non-gear stick users.

And I'm now going to have to put my hand up and admit that I'd be teaching my teenage kids to drive autos - only because I don't have the patience to live with weeks of bunny hopping around empty car parks.

But once they have their full licence, I'll be paying for them to learn to drive stick shift.
Honestly.