There is a hell of a lot of disgruntlement amongst real drivers that manuals are becoming harder to buy.
You have told us the economic reason behind it (more people are choosing autos), but why have the public gone for the automatics when their complex nature can cause problems? I think that may be because the price of cars has come down in the last decade, so optioning an auto is easier. With this, the next generation are now learning in autos! This is an inconvenient truth for those who love to decide how the engine drives the wheels.
I love manuals, however, driving in Melbourne traffic, I admit there are places for an automatic! Though I agree with another letter writer who was angry that some manufacturers will let us have a manual, but at the same price as a dual-clutch. We should not be paying as much for a heavier, more complex gearbox.
Oh and by the way, I doubt a well driven manual would ultimately be less economical to run than a dual-clutch gearbox.
While it’s clear you’re a manual man, Tom, if you’re interested the battle within the automatic camp between torque converters and dual-clutches, flick to Morley’s column on page 129 for an interesting insight.