The Growing Popularity of Automatic Transmissions

Published: 21 Feb 2001
By Matthew Bickford
Automatic transmissions are becoming more popular on vehicles today. Eighty-eight percent of light vehicles manufactured in 1999 were equipped with an automatic transmission. Although, this number is only a few percentage points higher than a few years ago, this slightly higher percentage is applied to higher new light vehicle sales. In 1999, 18.49 million new vehicles were sold in Canada and the United States. When a higher factory installation rate of automatic transmissions is applied to 1999 new vehicle sales, it represents 16.27 million vehicles equipped with automatic transmission.
There are several reasons for automatic transmissions becoming more popular. The main reason is that automatic transmissions today perform better than they did in the past. There have been many technological breakthroughs that make automatic transmissions perform as well as a manual transmissions. For this reason, customers now prefer to have automatic transmissions.
Technical Advancements to Automatic Transmissions
Automatic transmissions today are very complex, as they are controlled by advanced electronics. These advanced electronics prevent the transmission from hunting between gears. They also make the transmission shift smoother. With the use of electronics there are less mechanical parts, so automatic transmissions now weigh less. Also contributing to the weight loss is improved castings and lighter metal such as aluminum being used. Improved fuel economy is another benefit of the advanced electronics and weight loss.

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