Volkswagen’s latest ad for the new Jetta GLI jokes that so few people know how to drive a stick anymore that you don’t even need to lock your manual transmission cars.
Let’s be frank here: manual transmissions are a dying breed. According to the Chicago Tribune, just 2% of vehicles sold in the US had a manual transmission in 2018. Think about that: that’s one in fifty cars has a manual. The rest are all automatics, or in the case of electric cars, they don’t even have a transmission.
Ford no longer produces manual transmissions for their pickup trucks. Neither does Chevrolet. You can still get a Corolla or a Civic in a manual if you really want, but so few people buy them that analysts wonder just how much longer Toyota and Honda will continue to bother making them outside of prestige sports cars like the Supra or the Type R.
Apparently, Volkswagen also makes a manual transmission for their recently unveiled Jetta GLI. That’s the sporty version of the Jetta with a 228 hp turbocharged engine--just enough power to really feel like you’re in something sporty.
In its latest ad campaign, VW takes an interesting approach to the car’s marketing. After parking the Jetta, the driver gets out and doesn’t even bother pressing the lock button on his keyfob. When his friend questions why he’s not bothering to lock his doors, the driver simply replies: “Nah, it’s a stick shift.”
We get that understanding how to drive a manual transmission vehicle might seem like you belong to an exclusive club, especially nowadays. But leaving your car unlocked on a downtown street is just asinine.
At least VW gets the joke. "Legally, we have to tell you that should always lock your car, so you should lock your car," the German carmaker writes in fine print at the bottom of the ad.
VW says the new Jetta is for “self-driving people,” which might be a swipe against Tesla and all the self-driving features that newer-model cars have. Self-driving people should still also be self-locking people, one hopes.