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Torque multiplication is done with gearing. No matter how it gets into that gear, the gear does the work. Autos are better than they once were, but so are manuals. I disagree that anything other than "customer convenience" is the reason for semi's to be going the auto route.
Both can be built to handle massive power. I'm sure it's cheaper to build the 4r100 though, as it's a common practice. Not common because it's cheaper, cheaper because it's common.
2002 F250 CCSB 4x4
PHP Phoenix, John Woods VB, NUC bypass, 6637
"No country can be called free which is governed by an absolute power;
and it matters not whether it be an absolute royal power or an absolute
legislative power, as the consequences will be the same to the people."
--Thomas Paine, Four Letters on Interesting Subjects, 1776