No, I think Subaru's market research shows that as the car's purchase price increases, the percentage of buyers who want sticks decreases. I guess the more money people have to spend (especially when the car being purchased is not a sports car), the less willing they are to row their own gears.
Fine. Subaru doesn't want to build a bunch of Sport Limited cars with sticks and then have them sitting around un-bought. The problem is that they could have gotten more profit from the car I bought if there was such a thing as a Sport Limited with a stick.
Honda does the same thing. You can only get an Accord with a stick in the lower models. Once you ask for leather or a V6 engine, the stick goes away (except for the Coupe, which even Honda admits is sporting enough to justify a stick throughout the entire Coupe range).
But the decisions some companies make about this are very confusing. Take the Smart Car, which can't be purchased with a stick. Now there's a small car with what I hear is the worst auto tranny on the face of the planet. I'll bet a stick would make that car infinitely more pleasant to own.
I've heard that when Chevy starts selling the diesel Cruze later this year, it will only come with an auto tranny. That's stupid. Many people who want to buy diesels are driving enthusiasts, and would prefer a diesel Cruze with a stick.
Some Ferrari models can't be purchased with a stick. Huh? A thoroughbred sports car that can't be purchased with a stick? Really?