Soon all Maruti cars will come with an option of an automatic gearbox with most vehicles to use the cost conscious AMT unit sourced from Magneti Marelli.
Times are changing, traffic situation is going from bad to worse and commuting distances are becoming bigger than ever. In times such as these, one realises the convenience of an automatic gearbox equipped vehicle. Automatic transmission was limited to the wealthy few but things are changing and fast. While small cars have come equipped with a torque converter automatic since quite some time now, the running cost was very high due to a 20% lower mileage, keeping these vehicles to those who bought a small automatic for the fairer sex in the family.
Maruti Suzuki plans to change that very perception and being a mass car maker, wants to bring automatic cars to the masses. The Celerio managed to do that to quite an extent, the vehicle is very popular for its lack of driver shifting gears. India’s largest car maker was quick to bring the AMT gearbox and was the first to do so in India, in spite of AMT technology being very old and dated. However, Automated Manual Transmission benefits from lower cost of production and thus the price difference between a manual and automatic isn’t drastic.
The other big advantage of the AMT unit is the mileage. As it’s a mechanical device which shifts gears for you (there is no torque converter here), there is no loss in mileage which is a big win for customers as small car buyers are more elastic to runnings costs. After Maruti brought the Celerio AMT, other manufacturers have followed suit, Tata Motors equipped its Zest with the same technology while Mahindra plans to launch the Quanto AMT early next year. Maruti recently launched its second car with the AMT gearbox, the new Alto K10.
Maruti Suzuki plans to equip all its vehicles with the AMT gearbox, baring a few like the Ciaz which will use a CVT automatic instead. The Wagon R (in Stingray guise) is set to get the AMT unit while the Swift, Ritz, Ertiga and upcoming YRA premium hatchback will too get the AMT gearbox for both petrol and diesel fuel options. The same 1.3-litre Fiat sourced diesel engine which does duty in all the aforementioned Maruti cars also powers the Zest compact sedan whose popularity has been amplified by the AMT gearbox. This is the reason why Magneti Marelli is shifting AMT gearbox production at Maruti Suzuki supplier park.