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Automatics selling at a premium

Cars with automatic transmissions are commanding much higher prices at auction than their manual counterparts across several vehicle markets.

And it is not just sectors such as executive cars where automatic gearboxes are the norm which are seeing higher prices, – even lower-medium and 4x4 vehicles are achieving better prices at auction.

According to data collated by auction company Manheim in its latest Market Analysis report, automatic cars sold, on average, for 43% of their cost new at auction during the second quarter of 2006, compared with 37% for models fitted with a manual gearbox.

Looking at the total number of cars sold during that period, automatic cars sold for an average price of £10,040 – nearly twice the average of £5,374 for manual cars.

However, this is helped by automatic cars being, on average, three months younger at auction (37 vs 40 months) and having a lower mileage – 44,541 compared to 50,668.

In the medium family segment, containing cars such as the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Toyota Corolla, automatic versions sold for an average of 42% of their cost new while manual models made 34%.

In the large family sector, cars such as the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Vectra and Honda Accord sold for 36% of their cost new as autos and 31% as manuals.

This trend is repeated in the compact executive sector, with automatics worth 45% of their cost new while manuals made 37%.

In the executive sector, the difference between automatic and manual gearboxes is 10 percentage points, while in the 4x4 sector the difference was seven percentage points.

A Manheim spokesman said: ‘Automatics continue to return higher prices than manuals, with the gap between them increasing with vehicle size.’

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