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Automatic cars speed down the fast lane




According to reports by Frost & Sullivan and Nielsen, automatic vehicles occupied a market share of around 10% in the quarter between January to March in 2016. The automatic car sales figures were earlier forecasted to touch this mark in the year 2020 but it has happened sooner. In the year 2015, the share of automatic cars in the automobile market was 6% with total sales of 165, 000 as per the report. As per rough estimates, sales of automatic cars may hit 200, 000 units in 2016 alone. Models like the Tata Tiago, Renault Kwid and Redi-Go which are major volume generators will be getting automatic gearbox options later in 2016 which points to the overwhelming demand for the same.

Demand for automatic cars has gone up to whole new levels with the introduction of AMT (automatic manual transmission) which is cheaper than the expensive and traditional automatic transmission units generally offered. Maruti Suzuki was the first to bring AMT to India and has renamed it as AGS or automatic gear shift. The company has even set up a plant for manufacturing AMT kits to meet rising demand.
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According to the executive director (engineering) at Maruti Suzuki India, CV Raman, a whopping 50% of the sales of the popular Celerio hatchback are generated from the AGS variant alone. With the new plant ready, Maruti Suzuki will be positioning this technology on a larger scale according to him. He added that around 20% of sales of the Alto and 11% of sales of the WagonR are generated due to AMT technology.

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The company registered 82% growth in sales of AGS cars last year with 54, 179 units sold overall as compared to 30, 017 units sold in 2014-15. The Dzire, Alto, WagonR and Celerio are presently equipped with AGS while the Baleno and Ciaz have the traditional CVT technology. Mahindra & Mahindra, the leader in the SUV market, has introduced AMT options for two newly launched cars, the NuvoSport and the TUV300. The company is also considering introducing an AMT option for its KUV100 as well.

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Mahindra & Mahindra's Pravin Shah stated that approximately 20% of sales of TUV300 come from the AMT version. The company is targeting around 20% market share from the AMT version of the NuvoSport. This trend is expected to gather momentum according to him. By the year 2020-22, 25-30% of the car market will soon switch to AMT according to experts. Automatic technology has gained ground in recent times and the Indian automobile market is expected to witness several more launches with this technology in the next few years. Several other manufacturers are also toying with the idea of introducing AMT or CVT for their models due to marked customer preference for the same.

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