At the start of this year (2021) the sales of of vehicles with automatic gearboxes in the U.K. exceeded those with manual gearboxes. This is because –
- The price premium of an auto box has largely disappeared
- It is becoming increasingly difficult to order a premium vehicle with a stick change
- Automatic gearboxes usually have more gear ratios allowing engines to be more fuel efficient or develop more power
- Hybrid and electric vehicles are all automatic and their sales are increasing
- When car combustion engines are no longer produced, all new cars will be automatic
- Increases in traffic hold ups are tiresome with a clutch controlled car
- Driving school cars are increasingly likely to be automatic
- Drivers with automatic only licenses will need to buy automatic vehicles
- The DVSA allow automatic trucks for driving lessons
- Automatic cars do not need routine clutch replacements
- Drivers quite frankly cannot be bothered with complications when driving.
The DVSA are aware of these changes and are probably thinking about allowing the driving test to be taken in either an auto or manual gearbox; people who want to add the manual entitlement will probably need to take a shorter test to prove that they can manage gear changes and operate the clutch proficiently.
As a consequence, anybody now considering buying a new car might reconsider ordering a manual car. When they come to sell, fewer drivers will be entitled to drive it, this will lead to faster depreciation of stick change cars.