Score one for clutch lovers.

Rumors of its demise have, apparently, been greatly exaggerated. Ford says that when an expanded range of Focus trim levels with manual transmissions goes on sale over the next few weeks, it anticipates demand for three pedal-equipped models to account for nearly 10 percent of all of its sales in the compact segment.

Despite being down a gear compared to most enthusiast-oriented rivals, the five-speed is apparently hitting the mark with buyers. Ford says it initially expected about 4.5 percent of all Focuses to be so-equipped, but the automaker said today that demand has climbed to about 6.7 percent and it is projecting a climb to nearly 10 percent now that it has announced an additional stick shift model.

In response to consumer demand, Ford confirmed a few weeks ago that it will begin offering a manual transmission on its Focus Titanium in addition to its entry-level S and SE trims. Until recently, Focus Titaniums - that's the range-topping model - were available exclusively with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.