Maruti is seeing heavy demand for the AMT equipped variants of newly launched cars such as the Swift, Dzire and Ignis. All three cars were launched in quick succession less than a year ago, with the 2018 Swift launching just a week ago. Nearly 20 % of the Dzire and Ignis sold are AMT equipped variants. More than 50 % of the new Swift’s 50,000 bookings have been for the AMT variants. To meet this high demand, Maruti is ramping up production of AMT units.
CV Raman, senior executive director –Engineering, Maruti Suzuki, said,
Within 1-2 years, we will have to increase production capacity and may have to look at a new plant. Acceptability of the two pedal technology as well as its affordability is making it so popular.
Maruti has been a pioneer in AMT technology for the Indian market. The technology was first introduced on the Celerio in 2014, and since then Maruti has sold more than 1 lakh AMT equipped cars in India. Presently, the automaker offers AMT on the Alto K10, WagonR, Celerio, Ignis, Swift and Dzire models. More upcoming cars could also get AMT as the technology is affordable, fuel efficient and convenient.
AMT stands for automated manual transmission. It is an electro-mechanical module that eliminates the need of an external clutch pedal. The AMT unit sits on top of the manual gearbox, and has a computer chip with in-built software that handles gear shifting. This allows car makers to add the AMT unit to manual gearboxes.
Since it’s not a conventional automatic gearbox, the AMT is both light and fuel efficient, and has far fewer components. This makes it much cheaper to deploy than a conventional automatic gearbox. However, downsides include jerky gear shifts and slower gear shifts. AMTs are suitable for relaxed city driving.
People who drive enthusiastically must consider a manual or a twin clutch automatic gearbox equipped car like the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI. In short, AMT is a poor man’s automatic, which also explains why car makers generally don’t use sich gearboxes on cars costing more than Rs. 10 lakhs.