The Growth In Demand For Automatic Gearboxes

Did you know that automatic gearboxes are growingly greatly in popularity?

Of course, there’s that old saying that you can prove anything with stats, but this one does seem quite compelling.

Searches for cars with automatic gearboxes are notably on the rise. This shows that it isn’t necessarily driven by the manufacturers, this isn’t them flooding the market with automatics, the increase is from consumers.

And, if consumers are switching to automatics then there can be one certainty – the car makes will have spotted this and will be making plans accordingly.

The growth is close to 100%, a doubling in demand. A survey by the AA found that searches for cars with automatic gearboxes in 2014 were 9.9% of such searches, this hitting 18.6% in 2019.

It is worth pointing out that these are searches and not a commitment to buy. Many of the searches could have been to gather information, people looking to see how automatics gearboxes have developed, deciding if they are an option for purchase.

There is, though, clear evidence of a shift with automatics now in far greater demand than has ever been the case previously. It is not hard to see why – the fuel economy can be superb and this is often no longer at the expense of a substandard driving experience, a transmission that feels without punch.

Town v Country Drivers

A divide does still exist however, delving into the figures suggests that automatics are more popular with those living close to certain towns and cities. Could it be that commuters faced with towns that are prone to heavy congestion and stop-start journeys are more likely to choose an automatic?

People who live out in the countryside or those who aren’t continually switching between first and second gear appear less likely to choose an automatic.

Some town planners might want to take note. That London has a high percentage rate for automatics is unsurprising, a city of such size is bound to suffer from congestion. However, Chelmsford in Essex sees high rates of automatic sales, so too Bury, Luton and Lincoln – among others.

At North West Transmissions, we are happy to see Liverpool’s place on the list, with automatics accounting for just 15% of second-hand sales. That isn’t because we have anything against automatics, more that it implies the traffic perhaps flows that bit more smoothly around the city.

Interestingly, the AA survey found that the majority of drivers said that automatics are better to drive and, as for enjoyable, only 32% found them less enjoyable than their manual counterparts.

It seems that the pros and cons are shifting in favour of automatics – not a definitive shift and manual is still the correct choice for many, but automatics are now putting up far more of a fight.

There is another factor too. The AA commented that, with most electric and hybrid cars automatic, the search for this form of transmission might also be reflecting the growth of the electric car market.

At North West Transmissions, as the region’s leading experts in gearbox repair and refurbishment, we take a healthy interest in such developments. Perhaps we’ll be seeing an increase in automatics coming in for repair in years to come.


At North West Transmissions we repair gearboxes or source replacement with guaranteed refurbished units.

A family-run business, we have a truly superb reputation, this shown by our 4.9 out of 5 average rating from dozens of reviews on Google.

All reconditioned gearbxes come with guarantees for 12 months or 12,000 miles while reconditioned automatic units come with a re-manufactured torque converter that has a lifetime guarantee.

Our technicians are all highly skilled with vast experience in reconditioning and repairing all units – importantly their efficiency helps cut down the price of repairs and so too the cost.

Gearbox problems are all-too common. If you find yourself in need of a repair or reconditioned unit, that often being the more economical option in the long term, please contact us.

Call us on 0151 933 0257 or use our Contact Form.