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Old 17th June 2011, 20:24   #16
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

anil, you and i waited three months anyway for our ATs!

i still have my swift and drive it when i miss manual shifting. but you know what: i can rev as well as in my vento as in my swift so dont know what the fuss is about.
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Old 17th June 2011, 21:16   #17
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

I guess very low sales till now is the reason.
When I booked my car - the SA said 'sir if you do not take this car for any reason,it will be near impossible for use to sell this - highest trim, black color and auto transmission - I don't think we shall find any other taker'. He even called me after paying the booking amount to be assured that i am really taking the car!

Its a prioritization thing really - AT is ideal for the city traffic where you have to change gears 100s of times, but it delivers lesser FE to an extent. One chooses whether he saves 1-2 kmpl or his left knee - I chose to save my knee.

But in US I feel a stick shift would have been ideal - only thing is that one in good shape is hard to find and harder to sell.

Last edited by blackasta : 17th June 2011 at 21:17.
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Old 17th June 2011, 22:27   #18
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Its a prioritization thing really - AT is ideal for the city traffic where you have to change gears 100s of times, but it delivers lesser FE to an extent. One chooses whether he saves 1-2 kmpl or his left knee - I chose to save my knee.

.
Very well said. I see people replacing their 100 cc motorcycles with Activa ( AT equivalent in 2-wheelers ) to run errands. But when it comes to cars, they go buy an MT. Even senior citizens. Part of the problem also lies in dissuasion on part of the ill-educated showroom salesmen who peddle MT versions to a prospective AT customer, as you have experienced yourself. As someone has rightly said above, there was a time when AC/powers steering/windows were luxury. Today most won't think of buying a car without these. It's about time car-makers realised this and offered an AT box on base versions, too.

FE may be down a km or two but as you rightly said, better lose a km or two than strain your knee. And not to mention the added benefit of ralxed driving which in turn may help bring down incidents of raod rage.
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Old 17th June 2011, 23:22   #19
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

I think urban population is slowly realizing the value of an automatic transmission.

Owners are discovering the ease of driving with an AT in choc-a-block traffic as well as on long highway drives. The fear of low FE slowly goes away when you start realizing that the fuel you save by driving a manual over a month is equal to a plate of mixed schezwan fried rice in any restaurant.

As disposable income rises and automatics become more efficient, the value of comfort might take priority over the perceived lower FE.

Mindset change takes time. Soon it might reach a tipping point. And when that occurs, OEM will start offering ATs with base variants, just like in US or other developed countries.

Last edited by dot : 17th June 2011 at 23:23.
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Old 17th June 2011, 23:28   #20
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
...

Its a prioritization thing really - AT is ideal for the city traffic where you have to change gears 100s of times, but it delivers lesser FE to an extent. One chooses whether he saves 1-2 kmpl or his left knee - I chose to save my knee.

...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Very well said. I see people replacing their 100 cc motorcycles with Activa ( AT equivalent in 2-wheelers ) to run errands. But when it comes to cars, they go buy an MT. Even senior citizens. Part of the problem also lies in dissuasion on part of the ill-educated showroom salesmen who peddle MT versions to a prospective AT customer, as you have experienced yourself. As someone has rightly said above, there was a time when AC/powers steering/windows were luxury. Today most won't think of buying a car without these. It's about time car-makers realised this and offered an AT box on base versions, too.

FE may be down a km or two but as you rightly said, better lose a km or two than strain your knee. And not to mention the added benefit of ralxed driving which in turn may help bring down incidents of raod rage.
The problem is, AT is expensive and not merely because it sells less - the whole assembly is expensive by equivalent of Rs. 70k-80k in Europe and UK on ex-showroom prices. Keep in mind that AT sells in healthy volume in these countries (though MT sells more) and cars in general are cheaper than in India.

AT is convenience no doubt, but let's put things in perspective - a guy buying a cheap car is looking for something cheap (unlike Europe where people have a "city car" and a "family car) while a guy who can afford to pay more will usually employ a driver. Either way extra roughly 1L for AT (including taxes) doesn't work out for most people and most cars - for Figo to i20 class of cars this is actually the difference between the base model and fully loaded top model without AT.

In Europe employing a driver is out of question for most people (and those who can afford a driver usually buy cars that have AT+MT on the same car).


Regarding damage to the left knee - you are kidding right?
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Old 17th June 2011, 23:55   #21
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Regarding damage to the left knee - you are kidding right?
Nope - My dad now complains of left knee pain and states that driving my i10 AT gives him relief from that.
I do not know how many people in this community are in their 50s and have been driving for 30 years (as my dad has been doing) - also physiologically everyone is different - so this thing might not be experienced by all.
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Old 18th June 2011, 00:35   #22
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Nope - My dad now complains of left knee pain and states that driving my i10 AT gives him relief from that.
I do not know how many people in this community are in their 50s and have been driving for 30 years (as my dad has been doing) - also physiologically everyone is different - so this thing might not be experienced by all.

I think the injury your father has was not caused by the clutch - many people get arthritis as they grow old - though once he has the injury it will hurt him. I think you should consult a doctor to avoid the situation from getting worse.


Come to think of it, pressing the clutch even a hundred times a day will not stress the knee as much as a brisk walk of 100m - pressing the clutch involves no jerks and not much pressure. In fact unless a person is on bed rest, the normal daily walkaround will stress the knees more than the clutches would. Add to this the fact that (unlike in say running) there is no chance of bone-bone kind of interaction - only muscles are involved and also the fact that muscles have a habit of strengthening themselves if a load is slightly beyond their capacity and you get a very small chance clutches can actually do any harm.


If a person already has an injury or a condition then that's a different matter.
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Old 18th June 2011, 08:37   #23
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
I think urban population is slowly realizing the value of an automatic transmission.

Owners are discovering the ease of driving with an AT in choc-a-block traffic as well as on long highway drives. The fear of low FE slowly goes away when you start realizing that the fuel you save by driving a manual over a month is equal to a plate of mixed schezwan fried rice in any restaurant.

As disposable income rises and automatics become more efficient, the value of comfort might take priority over the perceived lower FE.

Mindset change takes time. Soon it might reach a tipping point. And when that occurs, OEM will start offering ATs with base variants, just like in US or other developed countries.
Very well said! I can foresee that in next 3-5 years AT will be provided as standard option at the launch itself.

One deterrent I can see for AT is that, we still have a huge population who preferred to be chauffeur-driven (unlike Europe / US where cars are mainly self-driven). Those buyers will still prefer MT as it works out cheaper to purchase, and the trouble of gear change is for the chauffeur to handle
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Old 18th June 2011, 08:48   #24
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Its called logistics, or logistical simplicity.
You see, most of the people taking this decision have nothing to do with automobiles. Most of them did their engineering, and then did a MBA. After that they joined the company which gave them the best paycheck, or whoever first came to campus.

While in B.School, they studied things like logistics, logistical simplicity, variant overhead, and other such buzzwords.

When you pay a lot of money, and learn something, you want to apply it.

So here we are.
No A/T in base variants,
No 4x4 in base variants... No safety features in base variants.

10 years ago it would have made sence, but with off the shelf automation and computing solutions being cheap and readily available, logistical issues are no longer issues, except the auto industry, which surprisingly still lives in the dark ages when it comes to "customers and marketing".

So until you really have "car guys" or "bike guys" working instead of the b.school drones, this will be the case. There is no technical or logical explanation for the same, even through many would try to give them to you.
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Old 18th June 2011, 09:25   #25
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

AT is synonymous with less fuel efficiency. So when the customer is ready to purchase a AT, it implies he/she can afford the high fuel bills and when he/she can afford the high fuel bills, he/she can also afford to buy the highest variant if made/pushed to buy the highest variant by offering AT only with the highest variant. I think this is a marketing strategy as well.

I love the paddle shifts. I think they are hi-fi . Dot and Noopster do you both have paddle shifts ?
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Old 18th June 2011, 09:39   #26
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
! I can foresee that in next 3-5 years AT will be provided as standard option at the launch itself.

One deterrent I can see for AT is that, we still have a huge population who preferred to be chauffeur-driven (unlike Europe / US where cars are mainly self-driven). Those buyers will still prefer MT as it works out cheaper to purchase, and the trouble of gear change is for the chauffeur to handle
Point taken.

I feel that this driver culture will also slowly go as cheap labor becomes non-existent. Another decade max.

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Originally Posted by F150 View Post
AT is synonymous with less fuel efficiency. So when the customer is ready to purchase a AT, it implies he/she can afford the high fuel bills and when he/she can afford the high fuel bills, he/she can also afford to buy the highest variant if made/pushed to buy the highest variant by offering AT only with the highest variant. I think this is a marketing strategy as well.
You have a point, no doubt.

But an interesting marketing strategy, nevertheless. When you are ready to shell out 4-5 lakhs for a base variant but not ready to pay extra 200-400 per month for the AT's "inefficiency".

Probably goes back to what @tsk1979 just said.

Last edited by dot : 18th June 2011 at 09:41.
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Old 18th June 2011, 10:27   #27
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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ll.

I love the paddle shifts. I think they are hi-fi . Dot and Noopster do you both have paddle shifts ?
dot does. Civic and even chota bhai City come with paddles. Cool to play with but I don't see myself using them much once novelty wears off. dot uses 'em a lot by the way!

Vento has tiptronic. You move the gear lever to the left in D, "tip" the gearstick forward for upshift and back for downshift and you're good.

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I think the injury your father has was not caused by the clutch - many people get arthritis as they grow old - though once he has the injury it will hurt him. I think you should consult a doctor to avoid the situation from getting worse.
Dude I'm in my 30s but even I bought an AT to preserve my knees.

Quote:
Come to think of it, pressing the clutch even a hundred times a day will not stress the knee as much as a brisk walk of 100m - (etc. etc.)

If a person already has an injury or a condition then that's a different matter.
I respect your opinion, but my left knee thanks me for the switch. We're talking stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 mins at a stretch or more, daily. Repetitive stress injuries have been caused with far less.

Last edited by noopster : 18th June 2011 at 10:28.
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Old 18th June 2011, 11:15   #28
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

An A/T on the base variant would virtually kill sales of the higher end variants. In the Indian market where A/Ts are considered luxury, the general conception is that base variant buyers are cost conscious and do not need an A/T. While this is wrong in most cases, the car manufacturers will not change overnight. Why does a chauffeur driven top variant car need an A/T? I would rather have A/T on a base trim which is likely to be driven the owner himself.

Though trivial, this also means that by buying a higher trim A/T car, you cannot modify/add accessories to the car as you please since most of the gizmos would already be factory fitted. Unless of course you don't mind just replacing the OEM accessories.

I think all it takes is for one car maker to come out with the A/T option in a base variant and then the others might follow.

Last edited by fuel_addict : 18th June 2011 at 11:20.
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Old 19th June 2011, 00:45   #29
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
I think the injury your father has was not caused by the clutch - many people get arthritis as they grow old - though once he has the injury it will hurt him. I think you should consult a doctor to avoid the situation from getting worse.



Dude I'm in my 30s but even I bought an AT to preserve my knees.

Quote:
Come to think of it, pressing the clutch even a hundred times a day will not stress the knee as much as a brisk walk of 100m - (etc. etc.)

If a person already has an injury or a condition then that's a different matter.ance clutches can actually do any harm.
I respect your opinion, but my left knee thanks me for the switch. We're talking stop-and-go bumper-to-bumper traffic for 30 mins at a stretch or more, daily. Repetitive stress injuries have been caused with far less.

Firstly - My point was that the joints/muscles/bones being talked about handle much higher stresses daily for normal people in nromal walking conditions. Some people (runners, cyclists, people who carry weights for a living - you name it) put way higher stresses than a clutch will ever put daily on the very same joints. They do not get the said injuries that easily - in fact research indicates they get less injuries than more sedate people.

So if his father has an injury he must go to the doctor (in addition to buying an AT vehicle - as I wrote, once there is an injury it can only get worse).


Second - if you think you want an AT for whatever reason (fear of knee injury included) that is your right. Go ahead. Many people put a black mark on their white cars to prevent "drishti-dosha" - their right again.

But because you did something because you thought something may happen doesn't mean it will (doesn't mean it wont either). Please do not put your opinions and suspicions as settled facts - you may end up unnecessarily and unfairly vilifying MT vehicles.

Repetitive stress injuries are definitely possible - but better ask a doctor. From what I have noticed while operating the clutch (I'm a new driver so observing more things than normal drivers usually observe) - the balls of the feet hurt a little with 15 minutes of stop and go traffic, the muscles in the areas near the hip start aching after 30min of slow moving (but not jammed) city road traffic whne I need to keep my foot on the clutch without pressing the clutch.

Knee never hurts - never. Balls of the feet give a buring sensation after several minutes of keeping the clutch depressed, ankle sometimes give a faint weary pain, hamstrings show some weariness if I do this for several hours (and keep a bad posture) but knee never hurts. And I spend close to 30 minutes every day in stop and go traffic.



Europeans buy MT in droves even though AT is very much available (years ago my roommate got a MG SUV - 4x4 MT - he wasn't looking to save money) - they also buy all sorts of comfort and safety features. I don't think there is anything magical about AT by itself, though I definitely agree with the convenience part of it.

Last edited by vina : 19th June 2011 at 00:50.
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Old 19th June 2011, 16:09   #30
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

AT + Petrols are a dying breed in India...dying even before they had a chance to take off. Primary reason? 70 bucks to a liter of the magic fuel. And face it, the petrol ATs are hardly fuel efficient. The market simply doesn't want petrol automatics anymore.

The order of the day is really diesel + AT. For one, diesels are inherently more fuel efficient and, thanks to all that torque low down, even diesel ATs give respectable mileage (just ask any Octavia or Laura owner).

Unfortunately, right now, we find ourselves in the classic "chicken or egg?" situation. Whenever I questioned a manufacturer on ATs, they say "sales are negligible". Well, if you offer the AT only on the top variant petrol engine, how do you expect it to sell? Somehow, most sub-10 lakh manufacturers are convinced that ATs just won't sell in India and couldn't be too inclined about offering it on base variants.

Two manufacturers who can take automatics to the masses are Maruti & Tata. For one, they have well-priced diesels. Second, with the volumes, a brand like Tata can easily sell a Vista AT diesel @ VFM price tag (Link to related thread (The case for an Automatic Indica!)). Others like Ford can also up the game with an AT Figo TDCi.

However, do note that for cars costing over 15 lakhs, AT's account for a majority of the sales. Yes, with the premium Germans, you can buy a base variant (e.g. 320d corporate ed) in AT too.
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