A study commissioned by Mazda Motor Europe has found that 66 percent of drivers would prefer to stay behind the wheel even if self-driving cars become widely available, with the figures for UK, Germany, Austria and Poland at 71 percent, compared to 59 percent for Italy.
It was also found that only 33 percent of drivers "welcome the advent of self-driving cars". And 18-24 year olds were no more likely to rush to get self-driving cars than 25-34 year olds or 35-44 year olds.
Mazda Motor Europe's President and CEO Jeff Guyton said: "As a brand we simply love driving and this research demonstrates very clearly that a huge number of European drivers agree with us - of course, there is a role for self-driving cars but for us, and for many others it seems, there really is nothing quite like the physical pleasure of driving. This is why at Mazda we believe in putting the driver at the heart of everything we do and it's why our current Drive Together campaign focuses on the bond between car and driver.
"We call this Jinba Ittai which is the Japanese phrase used to describe the perfect harmony between the mounted archer and his horse. It is this human-centric philosophy that underpins our business and helps us create cars that bring the driver and their car closer together. If you look at the car industry in general, we believe that many manufacturers are taking a lot of the pure driving pleasure away from drivers. At Mazda we are fighting against this and it's clear from the research that there is still a huge percentage of drivers who just want to be behind the wheel. In a world that questions the act of driving and devalues the role of the car and the role of the driver through technological changes, we will continue to challenge convention for the love of driving."