Automation is a car company tycoon game in which you design and build cars from scratch. It is you who designs everything from the very core that is the engine, over the chassis, to the suspension and the car's looks. Several games have tried this before... but were able to merely scratch the surface.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (21 reviews) - 71% of the 21 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Very Positive (709 reviews) - 87% of the 709 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Mar 12, 2015

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“We held back on launching Automation into Early Access until the game had a solid, fleshed-out core which the main tycoon part of the game will be based on. We also wanted to make sure we can offer enough content and polish to warrant presenting and selling the game to a larger audience.

Previously we offered an early access version of the game via our website, but this sales platform and distribution channel has been outgrown by the steadily increasing interest in the game, becoming complicated to manage for a small team like ours.

Finally launching the game on Steam Early Access makes possible to speed up development with any additional income, allowing for quicker content addition (car bodies, engines, etc.) than otherwise possible. It also allows us to get additional manpower to the team to tackle the huge job of game balancing and AI programming.

Last but not least, with the major milestones of completing the car designer and engine designer under our belt, the implementation of multiplayer features means using the Steam API for network communications, saving us a lot of double work associated with developing our own networking code first.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Completing the game and adding all content promised will likely take anywhere between one to two years. This may seem like a lot, but a complex game like Automation takes a small team a long time to make to the standard we do. Rest assured that we are confident of finishing all the promised features of Automation, even if it may take quite some time.

We're not known for being good with estimates, but always deliver and are good at avoiding feature creep. Our development process focuses on milestone builds that introduce new features every ~3-4 months and are both beta-tested and reasonably polished-up. Any major problems with these milestones are addressed quickly in hotfixes before we move on to the next milestone.

Quick Facts About Development:
  • Fully independent developer
  • Small 5-person team
  • 3 years of full-time development so far
  • First public demo released April 2012
  • Funded by preorders, 14000 sales before Steam Early Access
  • Modular development approach: 3 main parts, 2 are feature complete
  • Major updates every ~3-4 months
  • Focus on transparency, community contact and open discussion
  • Frequent YouTube & Facebook development updates

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“In Early Access our efforts go towards adding more detail to the tycoon and management part of the game. Once the campaign mode is fully playable, more content is added (engine types, car bodies, scenarios, multiplayer modes) and the game is polished up and balanced before it being considered complete.

Since Mid 2015, a portion of our team has been focused on porting Automation over to Unreal Engine 4, and the next major update release will be on Unreal, giving huge improvements in graphical quality, performance, UI design and general playablity, as well as giving us the developers the tools to develop Automation better, faster, and maintain it far into the future.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The current Early Access version of the game has the following, fully functional and playable, yet content incomplete features:
  • Car Designer
  • Engine Designer
  • "Lite Campaign" simple Tycoon mode.
  • Car/Engine Sandbox Mode
  • 60+ Scenarios and Tutorials
  • 35+ Base Car Bodies
  • Tons of in-game videos and descriptions

    Please Note: The current Steam Early Access launch version contains a simplified "Lite Campiagn" version of the Tycoon gameplay. Future updates will add more detail and complexity to these aspects of the game.

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes, by buying into Early Access you save around 15% and get the warm feeling you are helping a niche independent game dev.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We already do, we have a great active forum community, and we have an amazing core testing team recruited from the testers. If this really is the game you always dreamed of, you can help us make it.”
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Buy Automation - The Car Company Tycoon Game


Recent updates View all (85)

October 20

Lite Campaign V2 Open Beta (B161021)

A day or two late, but in general on track. We just released the first open beta of the updated Lite Campaign V2. It is a little rough around the edges still but comes with many much needed fixes and interesting additions.

In case you want to join into the open beta and try out the new additions early, be aware that your savegames from V1 won't work! You can join in (or opt out) by right-clicking Automation in your Steam Library, Properties, Betas, select openbeta (or the default branch to opt out).

The main new Features of the Lite Campaign V2 are:

  • Basic R&D mechanics
  • Engineering familiarity system
  • Improved hub with financials screen
  • Improved plot and factory setup

There are still quite a few things on our ToDo list that will be addressed the coming days, but we're looking forward to getting your feedback already over the weekend... including bug reports of course!

The open beta will run for ~10 days until we have the remaining issues like engine sounds, car scenarios, UI stuff, etc. all sorted out.

Enjoy, cheers!

6 comments Read more

October 11

Little Dev Update: 12. October 2016

We've come quite some ways with implementing the new main features of the Lite Campaign V2. As the community requested, these are:

1) Basic R&D
2) Engineering Familiarity

This is what today's Little Dev Update is about, showing the first rough implementation of these features in the closed beta in the context of a bit of Lite Campaign V2 gameplay.

Little Dev Update
Let's Play Part 1
Let's Play Part 2
We expect to be ready to launch into the next open beta phase sometime next week.


9 comments Read more
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Report bugs and leave feedback for this game on the discussion boards

Current Release Status

The current release contains the Car and Engine design aspects of Automation along with a simplified "Lite Campaign" version of the Tycoon gameplay. Future updates over the next 12 months will focus on adding more detail to this side of the game, as well finishing our work porting Automation over to Unreal Engine 4, giving major improvements in graphical quality, performance, playability and UI Design.

Read the Early Access description for a full overview of what is finished so far, and check out out for regular development news updates -

About This Game

**NEW UPDATE**The "Lite Campaign" simple Tycoon mode has now been released!

Automation will allow the player to become an armchair CEO - to build their own car company from the ground up. Create and run anything from a boutique supercar manufacturer to a mass-market multinational mogul. With powerful tools like the Engine Designer, the player can create cars and their engines in mind-boggling detail.

The grand campaign will start in the year 1946 and run until 2020, with the main goal being to build a successful, renowned car company from scratch. All types of car manufacturers can be led to success if managed properly; building the right image over the years is key. The player’s tasks are to design engines and cars, to manage factories, production, Research and Development, as well as advertising campaigns. In game, time advances at the pace the player chooses and pauses automatically for events and occurrences.

Automation is comprised of three major game components - the Engine Designer, the Car Designer and the Company Manager. These components are naturally strung together by the game’s goals, made to be user-friendly and intuitive to use. A multitude of tutorial missions, videos, and descriptive texts help car novices become experts. Almost infinite options give the player all the creative freedom to create unique cars with vastly different engines.


  • Extremely Deep, Technical, Creative – Experience unheard-of creative freedom in a highly technical, realistic gameplay experience revolving around building a car company from scratch. Go ahead and build your dream-car company!
  • Dynamic World Markets – Master realistically modeled dynamic markets, distribution, and demand. Try to cater to the needs of over 40 different target groups and their needs, or find your safe-haven niche in a cutthroat economic environment.
  • Flexible Car Designer – Design the cars you would have in your garage. Choose from diverse chassis types and materials, engine placements and drivetrain setups, gearboxes, suspensions, brakes, tyres, and finish off you design with fully customisable body types, looks and styles.
  • Highly Detailed Engine Designer – Delve into endless possibilities combining different 4-stroke petrol engine configurations, internals, head types, forced induction systems, fuel systems, headers and mufflers. All based on different 4-stroke petrol engine configurations: Inline 3, 4, 5, 6, V6, 8, 10, 12, 16, Boxer 4, 6.
  • Dynamic Engine Sounds - Turn up the volume and blast out the awesome fully adaptive, unique engine sounds that directly reflect your design choices.
  • Grand Campaign, Scenarios, Sandbox – Aim to dominate the world markets with your superior design skills in the grand campaign, play a quick scenario challenge, or just tinker away in sandbox mode to create the most insane engines ever.
  • Complex, yet Easy to Learn – While the game is highly technical, it is made easy to learn by means of well-illustrated in-game tutorial videos, detailed descriptive texts, as well as a multitude of tutorial scenarios.
  • Network Play – Play cooperatively with your friends or take your intuition for the perfect car design and challenge up to 7 human competitors in epic, multi-session network games.
  • Community – Join one of the most awesome and helpful communities out there, share stories about your exploits, talk to like-minded people, discuss your IRL car projects and engage in community challenges.

***IMPORTANT NOTE:*** The current version contains a simplified "Lite Campaign" version of the Tycoon aspects. More detailed Tycoon gameplay will be the focus of future major updates. Please read the Early Access description above for an overview of what is done so far. We are also in the process of porting the game to Unreal Engine 4, and you can expect major improvements in performance, UI design, visual quality, and stability in the next major update.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows Vista, 7, 8
    • Processor: Dual Core
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Support Pixel Shader 3.0
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 3 GB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Mostly Positive (21 reviews)
Very Positive (709 reviews)
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546 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
10.8 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 10
Undoubtedly, this is an early access game and needs a lot of work. However, it's painfully apparent that the developer behind this isn't capable of creating a good UI to house the game's many, many functions. The bugs and crashes I can deal with - I get it. It's early access. But at some point the community needs to be able to voice its opinion and say "You know what? You're not really delivering like you should."
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A developer has responded on Oct 10 @ 7:45pm
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
166.2 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 11
Automation was a lot of fun when I first discovered it in 2013 and played the free 4 cylinder demo. I then got the full version and had a decent amount of fun with the other engine types that were released. Which are V8, Inline 6, V6, V12 and now I3 engines.

This is without question the best simulation for building and designing combustion engines and just getting some more performance or improvement out of your engine can be extreme fun.

From there it only goes downhill. I found the other parts are totally dissapointing, with the low point being the lite campaign that was released a few days ago. It is a full letdown. I held off from writing a review but this confirmed my fears what can be expected from this game in finished state. The campaign feels more like a software for video editing than a game, you are basically just clicking from one modal window to the next, and if you quit before the entire process completed your progress is lost. If you're not painting something on a piece of paper and use spreadsheets you're going to see almost nothing in terms of presentation.

The second problem is that it hangs in E/A for much to long, year after year after year. The developers now decided to port the game to a new engine which basically means that the waiting starts over again. I have seen screenshots that looked like from a completely different game, so by the track record of this project, it could take many more years still.

The game at time also had a great amount of bugs, there are constantly values lost and the famous "LUA Errors" especially if you click the tabs out of order. The save system is awful, you never know when what gets overwritten and better manage your files manually from outside.

I can however still recommend this for the engine designer, if you skip the other parts.

the ultimate engine designer

car designer is an acceptable but pretty mediocre part

all other parts
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
75.4 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 14
If you like designing cars and engine, buy it, although it's not a complete version and there are tons of bugs.(can't save more than two variants, LUA errors, etc.) I still believe that it has protential to be a good game.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
30.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 15
Automation, if you are at the store page you must certainly like cars, this game is probably the best game of its genre ive ever seen, even if its still in early access. i have bought this game as soon as i saw the possibilites in the game itself, and with the almost daily growing Workshop page on steam, there will always be something new to put and fit together, if you are into building a car and engine of your very own likings, this is THE game i will recommend you, 10/10.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
132.7 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 5
Great NZ content and something that has not been done before!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
21.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 16
This game is pretty nice. I haven't really tried the campaign mode but LOVE the sandbox mode. I just like tinkering with ideas on engines and cars to see what I can do. It seems very accurate from what I can tell. I made a truck with a V8 with the same specs as my truck's V8 Hemi and had very accurate performance results. The people who made this game really put some thought and effort into the details of this game. Highly recommend and can't wait to see more development on this game!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2,124.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 12
I got this at least a year ago on a whim and decided to wait until the tycoon part started to flesh out to write a review. When I originally got this the only engine options were L4s and V8s and a pretty good selection of cars to sandbox with. At the time of this review there are L3,4, and 6s, and v6,8 and 12s. L4&6 turbos and V6,8, and 12 twin turbos as well. Campaign is now in the "Lite" stage where they're fixing bugs and finalizing the competition and calcuations, which is very fun by itself. The vehicles have become much more varied and there is a very active workshop community uploading new vehicles and body pieces at least twice a week. I play this at least 6 days a week and still haven't gotten bored of it, the content and updates just keep coming with new stuff to expirement and I love it. I had at first thought it was going to be similar to gearhead garage (man I miss that game) in it's final stage, and I'll admit I bought it hoping it would be a spiritual sequel, but it's in a section by itself with car games to me. This is THE car game for tinkerers and mechanics, the freedom is practically endless (want to make a 15 liter v8 and put it in a compact pickup for science? Do it) and the boundaries expand every other day. I'm hoping they eventually add diesels and L5s but for now I have more than enough to play around with and have no doubts that I'll still be playing it at this time next year, with diesels and L5s.
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A developer has responded on Oct 13 @ 1:50am
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
21.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 16
I really had high hopes for this game. And I wanted the devs to succeed. The car creation/engine building aspect is pretty awesome. It's still a clunky mess with the campaign though. I get all the way to the end of car creation and it falls apart. All of the details and stats are blank, the test track doesn't work and I either get error messages or a dead end.

I've done all of the things you would imagine. Delete the folders. Uninstall, install. Start all over multiple times. And run the game without Steam. All with the same result. If someone knows a similar game but just let's me time trial my car and XP up let me know. I get the feeling that if the "Tycoon" part ever actually works it'll be overly complicated anyways.

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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
15.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: September 24
I love this game, but not everyone will. If you really like cars, and enjoy realistic building, this game is for you. Allthough, most people wouldnt bother, scince it targets a specific audience.

This game is still in early stages, and like it says, dont buy it unless you are really sure, because you might not like it at the stage it is at now. The cons about this game is that exact reason. It's still in its early stages. People wont be able to fully appriciate the game when its half complete. It's a small team working on a big game, and that takes time. It would be a shame is someone payed for this game and didnt get what they were looking for. Allthough, if you really are excited for the game, and simply cannot wait, please DO get it. It supports the devs to push out more updates. Also, if the devs are reading this, I love your game, and I cannot wait untill the full release. If you guys have any idea when the next big updates are or when it comes out of early acess, let me know so i can get off my mac and jump on my pc.
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A developer has responded on Oct 5 @ 7:03pm
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
21.1 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: October 15
the game is no starting up it has a Error.

but a grat game love it
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Recently Posted
28.0 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: October 17
I would recommened with anyone with a computer that has been upgraded from windows 8.1 to windows 10 but if you're like me and I've just bought a new laptop, don't bother becasue it won't work for me anyway. It doesn't even properly launch on my laptop. Crankshaft studios, please fix this because I was loving this game on my old computer. Since the game is early access, its probably just a bug but it does need fixing.
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A developer has responded on Oct 20 @ 1:57pm
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40.5 hrs
Early Access Review
Posted: October 15
Türkçe dil desteği istiyoruz
Helpful? Yes No Funny