Maruti Suzuki has been setting different trends in India. Although it looks like Maruti knows exactly what people want, it sometimes seem that customers look up to the giant and learn what they want, simply because the bonding is extraordinary. Upsurge Celerio AMT booking informed all automakers doing business in India that a new trend is emerging.
There are small and medium sized cars that come with conventional automatic transmission variants, using torque convertors in place of standard clutch mechanism. Due to slippage while accelerating and decelerating inside torque convertor assembly, fuel efficiency is drastically affected. Not to mention responsiveness. These AT cars cost about a lakh rupees more than its equivalent MT variant. Some cars come with Continuously Varying Transmission (CVT), which is similar to the kit seen in commuter scooters like Honda Activa, Suzuki Access and the like. CVT also suffers from similar power loss and mileage difference is questionable.
Indian market being very sensitive to price and mileage, did not want to risk investing (as some would reckon) in a pricier variant that gives less mileage, which would also return low resale value. Unless there is absolute necessity for an AT car or in case of luxury cars which do not offer MT variants, Indian customers do not take a car home without stick shift. Hence market share of AT cars in India is just around 2%, whereas in Europe 65% of cars are AT and in the US, around 95%.
Maruti Celerio demands just Rs. 39,000 premium for AMT and mileage is not affected at all. Also since the car costs only around Rs. 5 lakhs on road, it is seeing a lot of takers. Same will be the case when highest selling Alto 800, Alto K10 and Swift models receive automatic variants. It is unclear if all these will sport Automated Manual Transmission kit, but it is plausible that at least one of them will.
Recently launched Tata Zest became second AMT equipped passenger vehicle in India and first automatic diesel compact sedan. About 50% of bookings are for AMT version suggesting people are really into AMTs. Soon, Tata Motors will launch Nano AMT F-Tronic and Bolt hatchback with AMT. Further, Mahindra Quanto is also getting AMT Automatic in first quarter of 2015, followed by A-Segment Nissan hatchback in 2016.
Even C-Segment sedans are gathering more attention for auto versions. Volkswagen Vento facelift launching this month is getting DSG auto box first time in diesel variant, followed by Skoda Rapid DSG diesel on 30th September 2014. Thus far Vento TSI petrol was only sedan in range with DSG unit and Rapid only came with MT. Turns out not only customers of affordable car segments are waking up to automatics, buyers across all range of cars realise its time to quit hand motion, given insane traffic density spreading to TIER 2 cities as well.
Via – Economic Times