Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) seems to be the latest trend followed by major manufacturers. This is actually a manual gearbox which is fitted with an electronic control unit and a hydraulic system that carries out the job of changing gears effortlessly based on the RPM and accelerator inputs given by the driver. Why are manufacturers vying for the AMT rather than conventional ATs? Cost! The AMT gearboxes cost much less to manufacture when compared to the regular ATs since fully automatic transmissions are more complex.
Maruti Suzuki introduced the AMT gearbox in the newly-launched Celerio with the “EZ Drive” tagline. Yes, AMTs do make your driving easy and people have got quite interested in this new technology. No manufacturer likes to be left behind and hence many companies are following suit and will soon start offering AMT gearboxes in their vehicles.
Tata Motors – Tata Motors is testing out AMT gearboxes on the Nano Twist Active and the Zest diesel. These products will hit the market very soon and right after that the automaker will implement this feature in its other vehicles too. The Nano will feature an F-Tronic AMT gearbox and it has already been showcased at the Auto Expo.
Maruti Suzuki – The Celerio is the first Maruti to feature the AMT gearbox. The vehicle as well as the transmission have been very well received and approximately 51% of the sales of the Celerio are generated from AMT variants. The highly anticipated AMT will also feature in the Wagon R and Alto K10 with many of Maruti’s other vehicles also getting it over due course of time.
Mahindra – Mahindra is developing a new version of the Quanto that will feature an AMT gearbox. Mahindra first wants to gauge the response of buyers to the new AMT gearbox before plunging it into other vehicles from its stable. Conventional automatic variants of cars cost at least Rs. 80,000/- more than their manual counterparts and hence companies are preferring AMT which helps them to provide the new tech to buyers at a reasonable cost. The Quanto with AMT was showcased at the Auto Expo.
Volkswagen – Volkswagen already introduced the Polo and Vento petrol variants with DSG dual-clutch transmissions and it doesn’t need to be mentioned that DSGs are very expensive to repair and prone to failure. The mechatronics of the DSG transmissions have had high failure rates in many countries and that may be one of the reasons why the German automaker is planning to introduce AMTs in its vehicles. The Polo and Vento will be the first from the VW stable to feature this gearbox. The company already offers AMT in the Up! in Europe.
Fiat – Most of the above car manufacturers will be using AMT gearboxes developed by a company named Magneti Marelli. This Italian manufacturer is owned by Fiat and it was founded in 1919. Magneti Marelli develops some of the most crucial parts for vehicles and they have also succeeded in developing the Automated Manual Transmission. Fiat is expected to use AMTs in the Punto and Linea in the future.
With so many car manufacturers opting to install AMT gearboxes in their vehicles (even the TVS Graphite was showcased with an AMT unit), it really seems like 2014 is the year of the AMT gearbox.