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Small automatics rise in value as demand for driver comfort grows

Increasing urban congestion, coupled with growing demand for driver comfort, is leading to higher values for many small automatic cars.

Some automatics have widened the value gap with their manual counterparts by several hundred pounds in the last three years, according to CAP, publishers of the Black Book guide to current used car values.

In March 2004 the differential, at one year and 10,000 miles, between an automatic Citroen C3 1.4i SX and the manual variant was £325. That gap has now grown to £500. An automatic Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i Elegance in March 2004 was valued, after one year and 10,000 miles, at £6,325 - £175 more than the manual variant. Today the equivalent car, a Corsa 1.4i 16V Design auto, is worth £750 more than its manual counterpart.

Based on 3,700 actual trade transactions in March this year the automatics in the sample achieved an average of 2% more than the manual variants.

However, there is some way to go for used auto values to close the gap with the additional new car price premiums of automatics, which can be more than £1,000.

Black Book database manager Tony Styles said: “Recent improvements in the fuel efficiency of automatics, together with increased congestion and a desire for driver comfort in all sectors are all factors in the growing appeal of small automatics.

“While owners may not recoup the entire new price premium on resale, the increasing used value differentials between manual and automatic in the supermini sector does indicate greater desirability and therefore a quicker and easier sale in the used market for automatics.”

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