As congestion on UK roads continues to drive motorists’ frustration levels through the roof, interest in automatic cars is shifting up a gear according to automotive data experts HPI.
Since 2008, automatic cars have had an average market share of 26.7%. For 2017 to date, however, they have a 38% share (435,105 new cars). Last year 927,806 new automatics took to UK roads, almost double the number of automatics in 2008 (437,633).
Also last year, Transport for London published figures showing that average daytime speeds on main roads in central London dropped to 7.8mph between July and September, down from 8.1mph the previous year. It also reported that an unprecedented 8,146 roadworks were taking place on main roads in Greater London in the same period – almost 900 more than in 2015 resulting in the average speed across the city dropping to 17.4mph.
“Traffic problems and the sheer number of motorists on the road particularly during the school summer holidays mean that the situation is not getting any better for motorists who are now accustomed to almost nudging their way around our city centres and busiest roads,” Philip Nothard, HPI’s Retail & Consumer Editor, said. “So it’s no surprise that automatic cars are becoming much more appealing – it’s no longer a clunky automatic gearbox, and the pace of evolution has been dictated by high-end manufacturers who have been phasing out the manual option for years. Now, more mainstream manufacturers are following suit and ditching the gearstick because of reduced demand.”
Year-on-year, the growth of automatic vehicles represents an average increase of 10.3% per year. The biggest jump occurred between 2014 and 2015, where automatics increased their market share by 18.5%.
Philip Nothard added: “The roads are so busy and congested these days that its’ easy to have an automatic as it is better suited to the stop start reality of everyday, urban driving. Running costs over three years for popular models are now fairly equal regardless of transmission, so there’s no reason why an automatic is not a viable option. Depreciation is also better for automatics so they represent better value for money in the longer term.”