I m compared to the Americans or the Japanese are the Germans still a people of hand switches. Only 28 percent of all new car buyers opt for an automatic model.
But interest is growing. Surcharges of up to 2,000 euros are no longer an obstacle, even in the compact class, as the success of the double clutch technology introduced by the VW Group in 2002 proves, which even convinces many die-hard hand controls.
Less emissions, more comfort
Fewer emissions with more comfort and dynamism are also promised by the latest developments in classic automatic converters. Example ZF: At the IAA, the supplier presented an extremely compact and efficient transmission with nine stages for models with a transversely installed engine that is to go into series production in 2013.
Thanks to an almost three-fold rate of equipment, Mercedes is even ahead of VW in terms of automatic registrations in Germany. At Porsche, of all places, the automatic proportion is even higher at 84 percent.
Not to be forgotten: hybrid and, in the future, also electric vehicles that do not have to be coupled or switched manually. You can see what the automatic range looks like in the individual segments in our photo show.
Minis automatic share: 23 percent
The smallest ones have the highest cost pressure - an automatic transmission is not allowed to be much costs. For this reason, the optional automatic range in this price-sensitive segment consists largely of automated manual transmissions (e.g. Citroën C1, from 600 euros) or outdated four-speed automatic converters (e.g. Daihatsu Cuore, 1,000 euros). Often only one motor variant can be combined with the automatic switch - if there is a choice at all. Example Ford Ka: no automatic on offer. In the Smart Fortwo, however, an automated manual transmission is part of the standard equipment. Without the two-seater, the average automatic share in the Minis would be only seven instead of 23 percent.
Small car automatic share: eight percent
An average of eight percent share makes it clear that many small car buyers consider automatic variants uninteresting - too expensive, no attractive gears.However, models for which customers are willing to spend a little more money are more often ordered with automatic transmission - such as the Mini or VW Polo and Audi A1 from the VW Group, which is the only one in this class to offer a dual clutch transmission (DSG). At Skoda Fabia (surcharge 1,400 euros) and Seat Ibiza (1,300 euros) demand is much lower. Both offer DSG only with engines from 105 HP. Ford (Fiesta), Renault (Clio) or Peugeot (207) have so far only used unattractive four-stage torque converters
Compact class automatic component: 17 percent
Golf class remains Golf class - the Wolfsburg is the bestseller even with an automatic transmission. Thanks to modern DSG transmissions that can be combined with almost all engines, every fifth German Golf customer indulges in this comfort. The same picture prevails with the group brothers Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia. BMW stays with the new 1 Series with an automatic converter, but upgraded from six to eight levels. Nevertheless, the triumph of the dual clutch transmission in this class seems sealed. The Mercedes A-Class will also switch to this technology in 2012 with the new generation. Ford (Focus) and Renault (Mégane) are already using them today - but only in combination with a few engines.
Middle class automatic share: 39 percent
From the middle class the automatic changes from an expensive luxury extra to something that can hardly be dispensed with Equipment component. Apart from the high-horsepower top versions, it is seldom part of the standard scope here, but almost every second unit rolls off the production line with many models. In the case of the Mercedes C-Class it is even two-thirds - it achieves the most automatic approvals in the segment. In addition to classic torque converters with at least six stages, the double clutch technology is also establishing itself in this class. Audi specialty: the continuously variable Multitronic. Automated manual transmissions only use Peugeot ( 508) and Citroën (C5) on some engine versions.
Vans automatic share: 21 percent
Apart from In the recently replaced Mercedes B-Class, only those vans that are offered with dual clutch transmissions have an above-average proportion of automatic systems. The technology is particularly in demand at VW, and the DSG, which has been introduced since the facelift in 2009, has a market share of 40 percent even for privately used multivans. At Ford, S-Max (31 percent) and Galaxy (21 percent) confirm this trend, while the new C-Max (no gasoline-powered automobiles on offer) only achieves seven percent. In high-roof station wagons - apart from the VW Caddy -simple on offer: Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Renault Kangoo are not available with automatic.
Compact SUV automatic share: 24 percent
A compact SUV does not necessarily need an automatic transmission to be able to to be successful in the German market - as long as it is extremely inexpensive like the Dacia Duster. All others benefit from a well-stocked range of transmissions to assert themselves against the numerous competitors - the average automatic share in compact SUVs is at least 24 percent. The most popular models also rank among the top five in terms of the automatic versions. An exception is the Ford Kuga, which despite the optional dual clutch transmission for the popular all-wheel-drive diesel versions only has a meager two percent automatic component.