The number of used cars for sale with an automatic transmission continues to surge

The manual transmission is continuing its slow decline as new data reveals that 41 per cent of used cars for sale are automatics, up from 30 per cent just two years ago.

In some parts of the country, the proportion of automatic models is much higher, with 72 per cent of used cars for sale in Brentford having this transmission. Chelmsford, Croydon and Guildford also see a high percentage of autos, with 68, 65 and 63 per cent respectively.

The data comes from AA Cars and is based on the vehicles for sale through its online marketplace.

Big Motoring World Car Dealership
(Blackball Media)

It believes that the recent surge has been driven in part by the increasing popularity of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, which rarely come with manual transmissions.

Figures released this week by industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that sales of used EVs soared 120 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, though the market share is still very small.

The used market also reflects new car buying habits, which have seen manual transmissions decline in popularity over the past decade to such a degree that many higher value models are only sold with automatics.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “Car manufacturers have responded to the surging popularity of EVs by bringing out ever more advanced models, and there are now no fewer than 140 different plug-in models for sale in the UK.

“As more of these vehicles make their way into the second-hand market, we’re seeing a steady rise in the number of used automatics for sale – and in some areas autos now account for over 70 per cent of the used market.”

At the other end of the scale, Gloucester has the lowest proportion of automatic cars for sale at 17 per cent. This is followed by Gateshead (24 per cent), Redditch and Barnsley (both 25 per cent).