Cars automatic v manual

  paddyjack 10:58 20 Apr 2011

My brother State side has just got himself a new motor. He then posed this question to me, how come the majority of cars sold in America are automatics, while in Europe the majority are manual?

Anybody got any thoughts on the subject?

  Algerian peter 11:21 20 Apr 2011

I wonder what the percentage of obese people is in the USA against those in Europe.

It could be they need their free hand to hold coffee and doughnuts. While in Europe we us our free hand to change gear.

  canarieslover 11:23 20 Apr 2011

So thats what your free hand is for!!!!

  Seth Haniel 11:37 20 Apr 2011

because they opened the door to let the clutch out :)

  Cymro. 11:42 20 Apr 2011

Automatic transmission is more expensive to buy and more costly on fuel so we in the UK just find it too expensive to buy and run a car fitted with automatic transmission. I also suspect that thwe Americans like their gadgets more than we do. As it so happens I went over to automatic 4 years ago and would never go back to manual now.

  spuds 11:56 20 Apr 2011

Perhaps the manual users are more sensitive to having less expensive faults in their motoring behaviour?.

  Cymro. 12:21 20 Apr 2011

Sorry spuds but I am not too sure what you mean by "more sensitive". I drive an automatic but don`t feel sensitive to anything.

  interzone55 12:22 20 Apr 2011

Early automatic gearboxes were simple three speed affairs, which is OK if you've got a huge motor under the hood with lots of spare torque, but a smaller, less torquey engine really needs more gears to work to the maximum efficiency.

US cars have big, low revving engines, whereas in Europe we've traditionally had smaller, higher revving engines.

I suppose the nearest we had in the UK to an American car in the 50's & 60's is the Roll Royce, which used a Buick V8 designed some time in the early Iron Age. Rolls also used the Buick 3-speed column shift auto gear box. They're still using that engine, but now have an 8-speed auto if I recall correctly...

  tullie 12:25 20 Apr 2011

I have had automatic cars for many years,dont know the answer though.

  Quickbeam 12:44 20 Apr 2011

There's also a fair amount of power loss absorbed in the automatic transmission. In a manual gearbox with top gear being a 1:1 throughput (no reduction or step up), there is a minimal power loss, I believe auto boxes absorb something like 10/15% an engine's power output.

That, together with the popularity of the American big capacity 5/7lt V8s (because gas was too cheap for the carefree/wasteful US public), meant that they didn't care about the terrible fuel consumption or losing 20/30 bhp just driving the transmission units.

Whereas broke post war Europe still had swinging ration restrictions and high duty on fuel that meant we had to go down the economy first driving route.

  Quickbeam 12:52 20 Apr 2011

swingeing of course, amazing how much difference the missing e makes...

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