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Old 17th April 2007, 00:20   #16
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I don't quite agree with the fact that fuel is cheap in the US.Its at almost $3/gallon, and not everyone finds that to be cheap.
I have seen that manual tranny cars are cheaper than AT cars. Atleast 3 yrs ago,when I was looking for a car,I saved atleast $1.5-2K on the cost of my car, over one with auto tranny.

Most people prefer AT cars, since its less hassle to drive. You can concentrate on the road, and not be bothered about having to change gears depending on the road conditions. The AT does it all for you,so its easy on the driver. Also, 98% of women prefer AT, since it gives them that much room for error. A good number of men/women use MT cars, simply because they like the feel of it.
With a lot of Stop & go traffic, the efficiency of the car reduces, so AT cars would actually consume more fuel,hence its been delayed in entering the Indian auto market.
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Old 17th April 2007, 00:54   #17
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Originally Posted by pawan View Post
what i meant was the pedals that are there on the auto cars.from left to right front two wheels brakes,four wheel brakes then accelerator.
auto cars have only two pedals. one brake for all 4 wheels (yes, they invented those many moons ago) and one throttle.
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Old 17th April 2007, 00:55   #18
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Originally Posted by vcash View Post
Wow.. there are some very stereotypical comments in this thread that seem a little insensitive but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
........


Good reply. I totally agree. Most of them look at you with awe if you tell them that you can drive a manual !! And also surprised if I tell them i have a car with 800cc engine.

I was speaking with the Honda showroom guys and he told me that more than 80% of Civics are chauffeur driven. Forget the Accords and the Merc's.

With the long commutes in the US, it is preferable to drive an AT. And expect for the big cities almost everyone has to use a car to get to work.

In Europe, the usage of the mass transit system is very high. You can do without a car in most cases. So driving long distances to work, large commute times are pretty less. So maybe the AT did not take off that well.

A question for Jeremy Clarkson
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Old 17th April 2007, 01:05   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vcash View Post
Wow.. there are some very stereotypical comments in this thread that seem a little insensitive but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

P.S. Why in India do we have so many drivers / chaufers? Is it because we are too lazy to drive at all and want to eat 'Moomfalli' in the back seat?
Very well put Vcash people do have a lot of stereotypes about Americans & their habits (just like Americans have about our Country & Living conditions!), that should resolve most confusion I believe.

But fact is that most people but AT's for the sheer convenience of driving it in places like Manhattan traffic or when cruising on the Interstates. It's much more convenient for them compared to a Stick shift. Plus, fact is that the US has never been much of a stick-shift loving country (Unlike UK & Europe) and Auto's have been popular for generations, so most people have never driven a stick shift or are familiar with one.

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Originally Posted by csentil View Post
In Europe, the usage of the mass transit system is very high. You can do without a car in most cases. So driving long distances to work, large commute times are pretty less. So maybe the AT did not take off that well.
You're spot on about the mass transit system in Europe it is much much better developed than the US and is a great way to travel between countries also. But keep in mind that due to the Topography of mainland Europe there are a lot of twisty, climbing roads which require frequent gearchanges. Also there is much more of an enthusiast culture in Europe for avoiding main Motorways and using A & B roads for pleasure drives & holiday trips. Since the level of involvement is higher in Maunals a kot of people prefer to buy them to enjoy the drives fully.

But slowly the Auto sloth is catching on in Europe too especially with the torque-laden Turbo-Diesels being sold in huge numbers now proving an ideal companinon.

Last edited by iraghava : 17th April 2007 at 01:16.
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Old 17th April 2007, 02:39   #20
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but if the price diff was 10,000$ between a manual and auto Im sure everyone would have learnt to drive a manual in USA..
how much is the price diff between an auto and manual in india ? close to a lakh ? Im not sure ?

Last edited by chetanhanda : 17th April 2007 at 02:40.
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Old 17th April 2007, 02:50   #21
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Originally Posted by sbasak View Post
I don't understand why a whole nation only drives automatic cars!
Except USA/Canada probably no other country drives only automatics.
What is the reason for it? Why the Europeans are not such automatic crazy?
Japan and Australia are also high on automatic usage. Japan probably more than US.

In US, gas is(was) cheap but labor is expensive so you cannot hire a driver like you do in India for $100/month. The new tech autos have only a small penalty in FE.

OK, now fuel price has doubled, but generations of drivers do not know how to work the clutch and gears so they are stuck to autos.

But in the west coast you will find manuals are still popular.
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Old 17th April 2007, 05:01   #22
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Most of you guys have covered most of the points but I'll add some more.

Things like automatic transmissions and cruise control are extremely popular in the States because people spend a lot of time on the roads. I think Americans cover more distance on road than most of the Europeans and Asians. That's because the towns are well connected by straight roads and gas is cheaper. That's why a road trip is even cheaper than traveling by rail.

Other than the usual city commutes, I think the difference between AT's and MT's is negligible when it comes to greater distances. On the highways you pretty much stay in the same gear at the same speed for hours. And inter-city travel is extremely popular by road unlike Europe where people prefer the rail system. Also the topography of North America is much simpler than Europe, so there are straighter and wider roads and hence the driving culture. Hence people don't really need MT's. Also on the narrower and twistier roads of Europe, AT's will guzzle up a lot more gas than MT's.
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Old 17th April 2007, 06:43   #23
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This friend of mine (American) who lives in SanFrancisco said most of the people in SFO prefer stick shift. I guess the up/downhill matters
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Old 17th April 2007, 08:51   #24
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Also consider the snowballing effect. When one generation gets hooked on to Automatics, it automatically follows on to the next. And so on...

Was at a party in Boston and there was a car blocking the driveway. Owner was too drunk to drive and not one of the 40+ invitees knew how to drive a stick-shift. Needless to say, I helped out.
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Old 17th April 2007, 09:37   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vcash View Post
Wow.. there are some very stereotypical comments in this thread that seem a little insensitive but I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

There are many contributing factors to why Automatics are more popular than Stick shifts.

1. Fuel Cost - Cheaper - Cost differential between ATX / MTX not that much due to quality / ECU mapping.

2. Engine Size - Not only American cars but virtually all manufacturers

3. Average commute distance and Average commute variance -
(Average one-way commute time of 26 minutes - over an average distance of 16 miles). But the variance is huge: On the best days, the average commute is 19 minutes; on the worst days, 46 minutes.)

4. Nature of roads - Mostly Highway driving on flat surfaces where tremendous amounts of up-shift down shift are not required.

5. Manual vs. Auto cost differential - $1000 appx.

6. Evolution of Automatics - Tiptronic / paddle / smg. etc.

7. Driver Age - its easier for a beginner who is 16 year old to drive auto vs. manual.

8. Driving comfort. - No burgers or cellphones. Most cars come with bluetooth and not all commuters are McDonald groupies. When you work 6 to 9, the last thing you want to worry about is upshifting / down shifting in Manhattan traffic.

As a personal example - we have a Lexus GX470 - 4.7Litre V8 - TM will never offer a MTX with that engine and even if they did, I would never want to drive it one. its too big and its going to be more painful for me to shift trying to manage all that grunt. On the other hand I have a Mazda 6i - 2.4L 4cyl with MTX which is a blast to drive because it is nimble and the power bands are manageable.

So to sum it up - MTXs don't belong in SUVS, Pickups, Large Family sedans but do belong in sports cars, econoboxes and some mid size cars.
(And if you did a breakdown -you'd be surprised to see how many fall in the latter category).

P.S. Why in India do we have so many drivers / chaufers? Is it because we are too lazy to drive at all and want to eat 'Moomfalli' in the back seat?
Kudos well said i completely agree with you
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Old 17th April 2007, 09:44   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ananthkamath View Post
auto cars have only two pedals. one brake for all 4 wheels (yes, they invented those many moons ago) and one throttle.
the for trucks an the older gto's and few other more powerful cars have this setup.
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Old 17th April 2007, 10:18   #27
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Well there is another place toooooo!!! DUBAI!!!! How could anyone forget Dubai?? Almost all the cars sold are automatics. Well people here buy automatic not to eat burger (or shawerma) while driving but to ease the woes of traffic congestion. Many models sold here doesnt have manual variant at all. Some makes offer manual variants but in the entry level variants. Top end variants with manual tranny is totally absent. Except to the likes of RS or M3. Where as in America one has a choice. Eg. Honda Accord V6 and Camry/Solara V6 is available in 6 speed Manual as well. same with other makes too. (Lexury brands of these excluded - Eg. Lexus/Acura)
I feel that automatics are easy for those who experience heavy traffic situations (2-4 hrs of ur day is spend behind the wheel apart from 8-10 hrs at office!!!) also for people who work while driving, and finally after a hectic day at office, its relaxing time for the next 1 hour behind the wheel of an automatic.
With new models offered with 5 / 6 / 7 speed autos I hope that the FE would be in par with the manual versions.
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Old 17th April 2007, 11:21   #28
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In US majority of people depend a lot on their cars, even a 60 yr old lady would have to drive a car to make her ends meet, so they would prefer a car which is easy to drive and commute....and you do find people who go for thr manual transmission too !!
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Old 17th April 2007, 14:19   #29
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Some buffs forecast that in within a decade, MT will become gradually obsolete in most parts of the world - people will drive either AT or with DSG/paddle shift cars.

Our grandchildren are highly unlikely to drive MT cars anyway

Previously I was also against AT cars, but after driving a few (not in India though) I quite liked them. Especially if you have only one car in family and your wife/parents want to drive them, AT cars are definitely better than MT. Using Paretos rule, 80% of the time we drive not for pleasure situation - so AT cars are really useful at that time.
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Old 17th April 2007, 14:41   #30
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Personally, I prefer AT mainly for ease of driving. But there are not many AT options available in India. Maybe if the manufacturers & dealers provide same quality of sale/service for AT like they do for MT, sales of AT might pickup in India too.
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