In recent years, Automated Manual Transmissions (AMT’s) have steadily increased in popularity in the Class 8 highway aerodynamic segment. Currently, the industry-wide installation rate is roughly 20% across the board for non-proprietary transmission/engine combinations, with a few selected proprietary models approaching 90%. In the used market, AMT’s were traditionally a deduction compared to a manual 10-speed, as perceptions of reliability and increased cost of operation limited demand. However, improved perception of the newest products, plus widespread acceptance of certain proprietary AMT’s, may be changing that equation.

To investigate this issue, we compiled calendar year 2015 retail sales data for 3-5 year-old trucks by model, engine and transmission/engine combination. We then adjusted for mileage and calculated the difference in price for each configuration. See the graph below for detail.

The results show that in calendar year 2015, a traditional manual transmission still brought more money than an automated, except in the case of Volvo, whose proprietary iShift transmission averaged 8% more money over a manual when coupled to a D13. Also note that in this study, the proprietary Detroit DT12 transmission was too new to show up in our data for Freightliner, so that make’s results are represented mainly by the Eaton Ultrashift Plus.

In sum, the price difference in 3-5 year-old trucks equipped with an automated transmission is as follows:

Freightliner DD15:-6.8%

Freightliner ISX: -4.8%

Kenworth ISX: -9.4%

Peterbilt ISX: -6.8%

Volvo D13: +8.1%

Looking at volume of AMT’s in the used truck marketplace, that configuration was still the minority in the 3-5 year-old segment. Trucks reported sold with AMT’s ranged from 1% to 27% by make, with Volvo’s iShift representing the high end. The Volvo number may seem low given the vast majority of D13-powered Volvos are built with the iShift. Keep in mind, though, the model years covered in this study were 2013-2011. Also, fleets are the main buyers of AMT-equipped trucks, and sales of their trucks don’t necessarily make it into our traditional data collection stream. So the actual number of AMT-equipped trucks on the road is likely higher than our sales data suggests. The graph below lists the proportion of trucks equipped with an AMT reported sold by make.

We will continue to monitor selling prices of automated vs. manual used trucks and adjust our values accordingly. Feel free to weigh in on this topic using the Comments feature.