Maruti Suzuki introduced the automated manual transmission (AMT) in the Indian car market through the Celerio. The excellent response to the Celerio equipped with the AMT has led to Maruti Suzuki planning a bigger AMT future for its car line up. While the likes of the Alto K10 and the WagonR will get the AMT option by early next year, more Maruti Suzuki cars will be equipped with the AMT option in future. The Ritz and Dzire Automatics seem to be poised to head the AMT way and AutocarIndia reports that dealers have stopped taking bookings for the torque converter automatic equipped versions of these cars.
The stoppage in bookings for the 4 speed torque converter equipped automatic gearboxes of the Ritz and Dzire car models could serve as a prelude to Maruti Suzuki launching these cars with an AMT option. The automated manual transmission that Maruti Suzuki outfits the Celerio with, is built by Fiat group owned Magneti Marelli. While this gearbox is currently imported from Italy, efforts are on to locally produce the gearbox, in tune with the high demand anticipated for AMT equipped cars in future. Local production of the AMT will also result in costs of the gearbox reducing.
The automated manual transmission automates the working of the clutch and sits atop the regular manual gearbox. An electronic control unit (ECU) works with the automatic hydraulic clutch to govern gear shifting. This arrangement leads to a minimal increase in weight. Also, since the manual gearbox is retained as it is, transmission losses are lower than torque converter/CVT gearboxes, leading to the AMT being almost as fuel efficient as a conventional manual gearbox. These reasons are why the AMT technology is likely to become very popular in India, a price sensitive market which places a high premium on fuel efficiency.