Buying a new car with an automatic transmission: why is it more expensive than buying a new one?’a manual one ?
In 2021, cars with automatic transmissions represented 54% of new purchases in France. This is a real revolution for the French car market. Indeed, automatics barely reached 9% of new vehicle sales in 2010.
These data show an evolution of apprehensions towards automatics. They could even capture 80% of the market for new cars with automatic transmissions’by 2030.
What are the advantages of an automatic box ?
A new cars with automatic transmissions stands out above all for its comfort. In fact, the vehicle shifts gears without the intervention of the driver. You no longer need to think about gears.
This option is very popular with young people, but is despised by those who love internal combustion engines. Thus, specialized platforms often insist on the type of transmission used when you search for your new car on the website.
The contempt of French motorists comes largely from the 1980s gearboxes. At the time, this equipment was characterized by slow speed changes and a monotonous driving experience. The reluctance of enthusiasts was then understandable and even justified. However, technical developments have made it possible to solve these problems.
In addition, manufacturers have developed various features for improve driving comfort on models with automatic transmissions. From now on, you can take advantage of the effects of the double clutch, the continuous variation, the torque converter… These innovations have made automatic cars more dynamic and pleasant to drive.
On the other hand, the automatic transmission is conducive to eco-driving. This method is currently recommended to reduce the consumption and CO2 emissions of cars. It consists in particular in avoiding sudden and late gear changes. Also, you don’t have to downshift and brake suddenly.
In other words, you have to drive smoothly and evenly. It is precisely the driving style dictated by the automatic transmission.
Why is a car with an automatic transmission more expensive than a manual? ?
In general, a new car with an automatic gearbox is more expensive than a manual gearbox. The difference is most visible when changing only this option on two identical vehicles (make, model and finish). In other conditions, you will have difficulty in identifying the extra cost of an automatic gearbox. This gap is due in particular to the fact that
- A longer and more expensive manufacturing process;
- Specific components are relatively rare (and therefore expensive);
- A lower production volume compared to manual transmissions;
- A pricing policy that emphasizes the comfort gains of automatics.
For the same model, the price difference varies on average between 1,000 and 2,500 euros. However, it depends on the type of automatic transmission preferred by the brand. Thus, the difference is estimated between :
- 700 and 1,000 euros for a single-clutch gearbox;
- 1500 and 2000 euros for a dual clutch mechanism;
- 1600 and 2500 euros, for a CVT (continuously variable transmission) or a torque converter box.
However, it is still possible to find a manual gearbox limited price difference between manual and automatic transmissions. In the city car segment, for example, the difference can vary between 300 and 700 euros depending on the manufacturer. In any case, models with automatic transmissions are more often than not more expensive than the manual versions on the new market.
Is this the end of manuals? ?
A new car with an automatic transmission is currently a pleonasm on the consumer electric market. Indeed, manual transmissions are only present on concept cars for the moment. However, the idea is paradoxical in a context that favors eco-driving.
The automotive industry is planning to make electric vehicles the norm by 2035. Logically, manual gearboxes should gradually disappear.
This trend seems to be confirmed by the scarcity of new internal combustion cars with manual transmissions. Moreover, Aston Martin and Volkswagen have already announced that they are abandoning this type of gearbox’by 2030. The German manufacturer is historically known for its ability to anticipate the evolution of the sector.
Thus, this project can be seen as a further sign of the end of manuals.
Beyond the CO2 emissions, manual driving has tend to consume more energy than an automatic. This shortcoming could even persist after the switch to electric vehicles. Moreover, the main players in this segment did not opt for automatic transmissions by chance.
The disappearance of manual gearboxes therefore seems inevitable in view of rising energy prices.
That said, some concept cars may still offer a future for manual transmissions, even in confidential markets. The Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept is one of the most promising with its 6-speed gearbox. It is equipped with a 100% electric motorization of 3.6 liters and a clutch system quite similar to that of a thermal model. Unveiled in 2019, the Ford Mustang Lithium is just as interesting.
It offers 6 speeds on a Getrag gearbox designed for acceleration races.