Why are no small city cars available with a decent automatic transmission?

Don't you think it's about time that the manufacturers produced an autotrans that was suited to small/city cars? It seems crazy to me that Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and BMW are introducing quite unnecessary seven and eight speeders on cars with oodles of torque, whereas those of us with the budgets only for smaller vehicles, and who spend most of our time on crowded roads, have to make do with power-sapping and fuel-guzzling four speed slush pumps, or even worse, 'automated' manuals.

Surely we need the seven and eight speeders more than the bloated plutocrats who could probably get by with four or even three speeds? Remember the two speed 'planetary' GM box of the fifties? They all seem to have given up on the CVT, which to my mind was the solution. I'm told that this is down to emissions performance, but don't they just have to try harder? My favourite car was the C-Max 1.6 diesel with CVT. Alright, not much step-off, but in all other respects, smoothness, being in the 'right' gear, manual override and economy, none of the subsequent vehicles (including 2.0 petrol 5-speeders, 2.0 diesel 6-speed dual-clutchers) have been as satisfying.

Asked on 3 August 2010 by Malcolm Page

Answered by Honest John
How much money do you think there is in building small cars vs big cars? Manufacturers have to sell a hundred tiddlers to make the money they make on just one big car. The manufacturer profit in a single Range Rover is about £30,000. The C-Max 1.6 diesel CVT you mention has actually been a disaster with large numbers of owners facing a £4000 bill for a car not worth that much (don't argue, I get the feedback). But the Toyota IQ does indeed have a CVT and it seems that Honda is abandoning its cheap i-shift automated manual in the Jazz in favour of reverting back to a CVT.
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