Maruti Suzuki has struck gold with its 5-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) system. The AMT is much cheaper than a regular torque converter automatic (which is almost Rs. 50,000 costlier) and even delivers mileage that is comparable to its manual counterpart. The AMT makes city driving effortless and this gearbox has been one of the big reasons for the success of the Celerio, a hatchback whose AMT variants sell as much as its manual gearbox equipped variants. Just days ago, the company launched its second AMT equipped car in India, in the form of the Alto K10 AMT.
The AMT system is built by Italian car parts maker Magneti Marelli, who has been unable to meet the high demand by Maruti Suzuki. This has led to the waiting periods of the AMT variants getting long. To keep a tab on the mounting waiting periods, Maruti Suzuki is in talks with Magneti Marelli to increase the supply of AMT kits from 3,500 a month to 5,000 a month. This increase in supply is expected to boost production of AMT equipped cars.
R. S. Kalsi, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki quipped,
The idea is not to wait for our supplier to first ramp up volumes and then get into AMT for a new model. We are working with our supplier to increase volumes so that the AMT is not provided in one model at the cost of the other.
Currently, Magneti Marelli imports its AMT kits from Italy and produces some of the components used in AMT kits in the country. Within an year, the Italian spare parts maker will be setting up its own assembly line at Manesar which will allow it to boost the production of AMT gearboxes. Once this happens, expect Maruti Suzuki to launch more AMT equipped budget cars. Also, the waiting periods of the Celerio AMT have gone down from 7-8 months to 3-4 months. A boost in AMT production will further reduce waiting periods.