Auto Electronics

Frost sees stepped manual transmissions hanging on in Europe

The growing importance of “driver control” in Europe is resulting in increased penetration of automated manual transmissions (AMTs) and dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) at the expense of stepped manuals, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. However, stepped manuals are expected to remain the norm over the next five to six years because they are cost-effective, lightweight, and easy to manufacture and operate.

More than 45% of manual transmission users prefer six-speed transmissions, which are expected to account for more than 60% of total manual transmissions by 2013 according to the report, “Strategic Analysis of the European Market for Transmission Technologies.”

“AMTs and DCTs are likely to eat into the share of stepped MTs; however, with end consumers rating fuel consumption characteristics higher than comfort factors, the dominance of manual transmissions is expected to continue," said Frost & Sullivan program manager Kaushik Madhavan. He added that more than 40% of AT users are likely to consider an AMT in their next purchase. “Stepped automatic transmissions are expected to remain a favorite for upper-segment luxury vehicles, owing to the superior driving comfort they provide.”

Noting the increasing quantity of electronics being used in transmission technologies, Madhavan said the number of add-on modules is set to increase, resulting in space constraints. “Front-mounted transverse installations are likely to be the most affected,” he said “Moreover, with the number of gear ratios increasing from the current five-speed to six, technology suppliers will need to develop transmissions with similar exterior dimensions to those of their predecessors.”

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