Automatic cars in India are now getting a lot of attention from car makers with most manufacturers offering an automatic variant for most of their cars. Here we take a look at why this change in buyer and manufacturer behavior has emerged.
A large number of SUV and luxury car buyers are now opting for automatic cars. In fact, even first time car buyers and those looking for cars in the sub Rs. 10 lakh segment are buying automatic cars such as the Hyundai i10 & i20, Maruti Suzuki A-Star & Dzire and Honda City.
Why people are buying automatics
Continuous improvements in technology have resulted in better fuel economy which means many automatic at have a mileage that is as good as their manual counterparts if not better.
The demand for automatic cars has also risen in the recent past as many Indians have experienced the advantages of driving automatics in foreign lands. “Indians are exposed to global markets and once they switch to convenient driving, they prefer the same in India. A serious traffic jam can numb the left legs of manual drivers and give cause to reconsider their purchase decision,” Mayank Pareek, Managing Executive Officer (Marketing), Maruti Suzuki told The Economic Times.
Among the luxury car makers, Audi and BMW offer almost all their variants with automatic transmissions because most of luxury cars are chauffer driven and even if they are self-driven, buyers choose automatics over manuals so that their drive in India’s challenging traffic conditions is almost effortless. German luxury car manufacturer Audi launches most of its cars in India, with only automatic transmission as the demand for manual luxury cars is very low.
Among more affordable automatic cars, the Honda City automatic contributes to 21% of total City sales moving up from the earlier 13%. This means that while 79% City buyers are still opting for manual transmissions, the car’s automatic variant has seen an impressive 8% rise in sales.
A similar trend has been observed in the sales of the Honda Civic where 32% of the total sales come from automatic variants. These are not isolated incidents and as per a Volkswagen dealer in Delhi, 66% of the Jetta sedan’s sales come from the automatic variant.
Increasing demand for automatic cars will force car makers to offer more models with automatic transmission. If demand increases exponentially, automatic cars will be made available in many variants and the price difference between manual and automatic cars may also reduce. With rapid dieselization of market, we feel that the demand for diesel automatic cars will be more than petrol automatic cars in the near future.