Maruti Suzuki has tasted good success with the AMT Auto Gear Shift in its recently launched hatchback Celerio. The Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) is a cheap and effective way of making driving stress-free without comprising on mileage. We all know how AMT works, it essentially is the same gearbox as the manual but with an ECU to control gearshifts and operation of the clutch. Usually automatic variants account for a mere 5% of the car’s sales but with the Celerio, majority of the bookings (13,000 units) are for the automatic. Thus Maruti Suzuki now plans to launch the AMT gearbox in the Alto K10 by the end of the year.
Maruti Suzuki’s top selling car is the Alto and India’s largest selling car will soon start to face the heat from multiple vehicles. Hyundai is due to launch a facelift of the Eon, which will get a more powerful 1.0-litre engine while the Datsun GO is just around the corner (launch is set for the third week of March). If that wasn’t enough, Tata Motors is looking at re-positioning the Nano as a more upmarket vehicle and thus the world’s cheapest car would soon be competing head-on with the Alto. Tata Motors plans to give the Nano an AMT gearbox as well which it showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo.
India’s largest car manufacturer is betting heavily on AMT to boost market share. Gradually all Maruti cars will come with the option of an automatic. The Ciaz, which replaces the SX4, will be offered with a CVT automatic while the Wagon R will get the AMT box next year. The Wagon R, Alto K10 and Celerio share the same engine and thus little effort is required to launch the AMT versions of these cars. The AMT technology is owned by Fiat Group’s Magneti Marelli and thus the kits are imported to India from Italy.
Maruti Suzuki is also working on a 800cc, twin-cylinder diesel engine which will make its way to the Celerio by the end of the year. It won’t get an AMT gearbox initially but will be the Japanese firm’s first indigenously developed diesel engine. The cost saving of an AMT vis-a-vis a traditional automatic has led to the instant demand for AMT equipped vehicles. Even Tata Motors, Mahindra and Fiat plan to offer AMT versions of their cars in the immediate future.
Source – Financial Express