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90% of Australian buyers are turning away from manual transmission

Australia has turned into a two-pedal nation with nine out of 10 buyers shunning manual transmissions, preferring to choose automatics. 

Buyers of a range of cars including sedans, SUV's, sports cars and even utes are turning away from clutch pedals, preferring to use increasingly sophisticated automatic gearboxes that can outdo manuals for efficiency and performance.

This trend is heightened in cities and among SUV buyers — the market’s boom segment — where fewer than 2.5 per cent of the 466,000 vehicles bought last year were manual.

Teenagers are also going for the easier options and are turning to automatics when learning to drive.

NRMA instructor Noor Sheerazi says learner drivers want to get their licences quickly and it’s easier to master the basics without having to use a clutch.

“They want it to be simple.

“They’re learning to steer, accelerate and brake and they don’t have to worry about gears. They want to get the basics out of the way first.”

17 year old Nicky Choy from Sydney, has access to an automatic Toyota Corolla at home and thinks learning on a manual would have been tougher.

“Automatics are just easier and the whole family drives them as well. I practice on mum’s car.”

She says all her friends are learning on autos and that is borne out by figures from state motoring bodies.

In Victoria in 2011, 40 per cent of driving lessons catered for manual licences but that has dropped to just 13 per cent this year, according the RACV. Numbers from the NRMA in NSW are identical.

Despite being $1000-$2500 cheaper, sales of manual hatchbacks and runabouts has plummeted from 125,000 in 2008 to fewer than 30,000 last year.

Source: Philip King, Motoring Editor 

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