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Automatic transmission on the rise in Ireland has revealed that more new vehicles are being sold with automatic transmission, and the gap between manual and automatic transmission has narrowed considerably in the last five years for new car purchases.

In Ireland, automatic transmission has grown from 18,831 of new cars purchased in 2015 to 36,286 vehicles in 2019, almost doubling in numbers. By contrast, manual transmission vehicles have declined from 10,6837 to 77,183 over the same period.

The ratio of manual to automatic transmission vehicles so far in 2020 now comes in at less than 2:1. That’s divided into 25,474 manuals compared with 14,166 automatics.

Reasons for the increase in automatic transmission may simply be owing to manufacturers including automatic as standard in many new luxury cars. Automatic transmission vehicles, often a relatively expensive additional option, are considered by most drivers as easier to drive. There are also now negligible differences in terms of emissions between the two types meaning environmental considerations generally do not factor in the buyers decision between the two.

Most electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have automatic transmission as standard. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which are early precursors to autonomous vehicles of the future now include an advancement called predictive transmission which enables the vehicle to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying the road and traffic conditions ahead.

John Byrne, tells us: “It’s interesting to see how popular automatic transmissions have become. Automatics are easier to function and many current variants are incredibly intuitive and add positively to the driving experience. The days of the manual are not gone but remember that EVs generally require automatic transmission so as we phase towards EVs we can expect the growth in automatics to continue.”

For imports the manual is more popular, Cartell adds: 319,951 of all imports (cars only) into Ireland are manual transmission while 104,323 are automatics. The whole fleet currently shows 2,624,504 manuals as against 489,414 automatics.

Graph and chart showing transmission types for new cars purchased in Ireland 2015 to 2020.