Some automatics have widened the value gap between manual models by several hundred pounds in the past three years, according to automatic industry expert CAP.
Traditionally, automatic transmissions have been the preserve of larger cars, but now buyers are increasingly prepared to pay substantially for an auto ’box in the likes of a Vauxhall Corsa, Citroen C3, Toyota Yaris and Nissan Micra. In March 2004, the price gap at one year/10,000 miles between an automatic Citroen C3 1.4i SX and the manual was £325. That gap has now grown to £500.
Over the same period, the worth of an automatic Vauxhall Corsa 1.4i automatic over the manual rose from £175 to £750.
CAP says this represents the continuation of a trend toward luxury features throughout the car market, which were traditionally the preserve of large motorway cruisers.
Based on 3,700 trade transactions in March this year, automatics in the sample achieved an average of 2% more than the manuals.
However, there is some way to go before used cars close the gap between the premiums paid for new automatic cars, which can be more than £1,000. CAP’s 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, are all factors in the growing appeal of small automatics.
‘While owners may not recoup all of the 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.’