Why are automatic vehicles so popular now?

For decades manual gearboxes were the most popular option in the UK. Even though plenty of automatics were available, a lot of people still chose the comfort of a classic three pedal system. However, that has been changing gradually more recently. We want to have a look at this today and the impact it is having on the wider market. If you offer a car broker service, it is definitely worth noting.

All change

Car broker serviceIf you look at the new car market from 2018, a massive 194 models from different manufacturers were available with a manual gearbox. However, that has fallen steeply. Today in 2024 you can only choose from 98 models. Some manufacturers don’t offer any, including big names like Volvo and Mercedes. If you want to buy a new one, it has to be automatic.

You can also see the change to favouring automatics in the driving test statistics. In the past people would learn in a manual because they then had the option to drive one or an automatic. However, a lot of people now do automatic-only tests. In 2012/13, 87,844 took this kind of test. In a decade this number has risen to a massive 324,064.

Why the change?

A number of factors had an influence on the move to automatic gearboxes. It is important to think about them, especially if you have a car broker service.

The most important though is that new electric and hybrid vehicles are only compatible with them. As most manufacturers now focus on producing them rather than petrol and diesel vehicles, there has been a decline in the production and sale of new vehicles with manual gearboxes.

The demand is there for automatic vehicles too. According to data from SMMT, some 62% of new vehicles are ordered with this kind of specification.

In the past a lot of people chose manual cars because they were cheaper to buy, more responsive, and had better fuel economy. However, the automatic tech has come a very long way. Today they are very responsive and can be as efficient or even more so.

Residual values

The popularity of automatic is also having an impact on used car values, another thing you should note if you offer a car broker service. Vehicles with manual gearboxes can be substantially cheaper, an average of 14%.

There are several examples to showcase the difference in value. Most notable is the Citroen C3. If you want to buy a 2020 model with a manual gearbox, it would cost an average of £12,442. However, an automatic would be £15,743. That is a massive 26% difference.

A number of other very popular models have a similar story with stronger residual values for automatics. This includes the Nissan Qashqai and VW Polo.

The future

While more and more new drivers are choosing automatic-only tests and people buying new vehicles favour automatics, some motorists will always prefer manual. Some just love the interaction and driving experience. Luckily for them, the second hand market is full of models. Even better, you can find a great deal and save money if you compare to automatics.

Starting your car broker service

Auto Car Brokers teaches people how to get into broking. We have a wealth of experience in the industry, in the UK as well as in the US. What we’ve done is compiled this into fantastic modules that fit together to create a full business package. With it you have all you need to start as a broker. There are also tools you can use on a daily basis.

So, if you want to start a car broker service, browse our website or speak to us. We’ll give you the resources you need and can answer questions if you have any.