Saint Lucians Moving Away From Manual Transmission Vehicles – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Saint Lucian drivers appear to be moving away from obtaining vehicles with manual gearboxes in favour of those with automatic transmissions.

The requested figures from the Ministry of Transport regarding vehicle registration trends were not immediately available.

However, the President of the National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT), Godfrey Ferdinand, disclosed that automatic transmission vehicles are the trend among council members.

“If we keep to our main supplier, the vehicles are manual, but anyone that is importing, most times get automatics,” Ferdinand told St. Lucia Times.

He estimated that among minibus drivers, between five and ten percent of the vehicles have automatic transmissions, and the number is increasing.

Ferdinand prefers the automatic transmission.

He acknowledged that people who do not share his preference assert that automatic transmissions do not have the power of manuals.

But, the NCOPT President dismissed that notion as false.

In this regard, he spoke of the need to regularly service vehicles with automatic transmissions and properly use the vehicle. 

“When you are going up a hill with a load of persons, you do not just leave the vehicle in ‘D’. You apply the required gear to go up the hill, and then you would have no problem with your transmission,” Ferdinand told St. Lucia Times.

Herbert James, the Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Driving Schools (NADS), disclosed that the organization had witnessed a more significant number of students preferring automatic transmissions.

“The reason is what the market has to offer,” James stated.

He said automatic transmission vehicles make for easier driving and maneuvering in increasingly heavy traffic, especially in the City.

An individual associated with a company that imports vehicles also acknowledged the trend toward automatic transmissions.

He recalled seeing a video where some youngsters in the United States who had earlier hijacked a car, abandoned the vehicle and fled after discovering it had a manual transmission.

The teenagers could not drive a manual.

Citing the teenagers’ experience, the local official indicated that fewer people care to  or are able to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission and experience the challenge of frequently using the clutch to change gears.

“No one wants a big calf on their left foot,” he joked.