When it comes to automatic cars in India, automated manual transmissions are ruling the roost. Maruti Suzuki’s own sales data is proof. Over the last 4 years, sales of Maruti’s AMT-equipped cars have hit the 3.6 lakh mark. In contrast, Maruti’s conventional automatic cars have sold only about 10 % of this numbers. Maruti introduced automated manual transmission technology to India through the Celerio, and currently cars such as the WagonR, Swift, Ignis, Dzire and Vitara Brezza come with AMT options. Maruti’s conventional torque converter automatic-equipped cars include the Ciaz AT, the Ertiga AT and the Baleno CVT.
So, what’s making buyers opt for the AMT option on the likes of the Swift, Brezza and WagonR over conventional automatics on cars such as the Baleno, Ciaz and Ertiga? One critical factor is the cost. While AMT-equipped cars are priced just Rs. 50,000 more than manual gearbox-equipped cars, conventional automatics are nearly Rs. 1 lakh costlier. Moreover, AMTs offer better mileage than conventional automatics, and in India mileage is something that’s a make or break factor. In fact, all of Maruti’s AMT cars such as the Swift, Brezza and WagonR offer the same mileage as their manual counterparts. On the other hand, the Baleno CVT, Ciaz AT and Ertiga AT have mileage figures less than their manual counterparts.
Also, AMTs are simpler and lighter than conventional automatics as they merely involve automating the action of the clutch and gear shifter. Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki isn’t the only automaker that is betting big on automated manual transmission technology. Tata Motors has a range of AMT-equipped cars such as the Tiago, Tigor and Nexon, and so does Renault, which offers this technology on the Kwid and Duster. India’s second biggest car maker – Hyundai – will introduce AMT technology later this year on the all-new Santro hatchback. More Hyundais will join the AMT bandwagon next year and beyond. AMTs are here for the long haul and Indians are buying them like never before.