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British motorists change preference to automatic gearboxes

Thursday 01 June 2017, By Autovolo

British motorists change preference to automatic gearboxes

British motorists change preference to automatic gearboxes

British motorists seem to be changing preference towards automatic transmissions as technology and efficiency improves, data suggests.

Last year, nearly 650,000 new cars were registered in the UK with an automatic transmission - a 55 per cent increase compared with 2013.

New analysis from ContractHireAndLeasing.com indicates that 45 per cent of enquiries now relate to cars with autos.

Mike Best, who works for the leasing website, puts the rise down to increased manufacturer investment leading to better gearboxes that go against the traditional image of a more costly, inefficient alternative to manuals.

Best said: “New automatic transmissions are extremely intelligent. It’s now common to see seven and even nine-speed automatic transmissions, such as the Mercedes-Benz 9G-tronic. They enable smooth, efficient driving at low revs, therefore burning far less fuel and reducing emissions.

“Manuals often create bad driving habits such as over-revving, riding the clutch and using the wrong gear. These are things that cause wear-and-tear, as well as increase fuel consumption and emissions.”

It isn’t just customer preference, however. The rise of alternatively fuelled cars has seen the market going towards automatics as these models usually come with an automatic only – electric cars typically only have one ‘gear’ so don’t require shifting.

Best added: “As manufacturers unveil more EV and hybrid models, more efficient automatic transmissions and push forward with autonomous driving technology, the death of the manual may not be far away.”

Alternatively fuelled vehicles are accelerating in popularity – the latest year-to-date figures show that sales have increased by 23.8 per cent, while the market share has gone from 3.3 per cent to 4.1 per cent.