Move over the Ford EcoSport. The Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT is now the car with sky high waiting periods, to the tune of up to 8 months. The Celerio AMT’s high demand, coupled to Magneti Marelli’s inability to supply enough automated manual transmissions to Maruti Suzuki, has led to waiting periods going through the roof. Clearly, Maruti Suzuki hadn’t anticipated the demand for the AMT equipped Celerio given the fact that Indians usually don’t prefer automatic cars, more so in the budget segments.
What has brought about a change in view then?
There isn’t just one factor causing the Celerio’s demand, but many.
1. The Celerio AMT comes with automated manual transmission technology. The AMT technology involves automating the working of the clutch, a much cheaper and lighter alternative to a full blown torque converter of CVT automatic gearbox. So, an AMT equipped car costs much lesser than one equipped with a conventional torque converter or CVT automatic gearbox.
2. Maruti Suzuki’s marketing blitz. Right from the outset, Maruti Suzuki has been harping about the Celerio AMT’s fuel efficiency, which is as good as the car’s manual variants. The car buyer seems to have recognized that even automatic cars can be as fuel efficient as a manual gearbox equipped car, a major brownie point in favour of the Celerio AMT and one that makes or breaks buying decisions in the budget car categories.
3. Maruti Suzuki’s reach in terms of dealerships in unrivaled across India. This large reach gives the automaker access to a larger number of buyers, who have sampled the AMT technology what with Maruti Suzuki painting towns red with a profusion of test drive offers. More people test driving the Celerio AMT has resulted in many converts favouring automatic cars.
The Celerio is powered by a 1 liter-3 cylinder, K-Series petrol engine that outputs 67 Bhp and 90 Nm. Both the manual and AMT variants of the car feature a five speed gearbox. The Celerio shares its engine with the likes of the Alto K10 and the WagonR, both of which are also expected to get AMT gearboxes next year. Apart from Maruti Suzuki, a slew of car makers in India such as Tata Motors and Mahindra are also betting big on the AMT technology.