In 2004, for example, only 17.6 per cent of the 2.55 million new cars that were bought in the UK were fitted with an automatic gearbox. Scroll forwards to 2013, and in an era of flappy paddle this, dual clutch that, and with regular automatics getting better seemingly with every week, you might have expect sales of automatics to sky-rocket.
If so, what percentage of new cars do you think that were sold in the UK between January and October this year had a regular old gearstick between their front seats? Answer; 75 per cent. The vast majority, in other words.
In the last nine years, since the SMMT has been gathering statistics on such matters, the popularity of the manual gearbox has dropped by only a few per cent.
So when manufacturers like Renault (with its latest RenaultSport Clio 200) and now even Vauxhall - whose next Corsa will be offered with the option of dual clutch transmission from next year - begin marching to the same tune, you can't help but wonder: who has got it right here?
The manufacturers, who are making evermore expensive and sophisticated autos with every day that goes by, or the punters, who aren't actually buying into the technology at anything like the rate you might think?
The truth is probably somewhere in between. Among the high-end sports car market the auto — and specifically the dual clutch auto — is very much a must-have fitment nowadays. Customers no longer want a Jaguar or a Ferrari or even a Porsche 911 GT3, it seems, unless it has a super-fast paddle-shift auto. Which is why the manufacturers of such exotica have pretty much abandoned the idea of building them with three pedals and a gearlever in the first place.
But lower down the market, I'm not so sure. Does a 25-30-something would-be RenaultSport Clio driver really and truly want to change gear using paddles? And do they realise that, were they to take their driving test in a car with dual clutch transmission, they wouldn't then be allowed to drive that second hand 996 Turbo they always promised themselves in later life because it has a manual gearbox?
No, the traditional stick shift may well be on the decline, slightly, but for the time being it is still very much alive and well - even if the dual clutch gearbox knocks it into next century, technically.