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Old 17th June 2011, 14:00   #1
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Default Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

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Friends, I was lucky enough to buy Hyundai i10 Magna AT. Automatic transmission for i10 now starts only with Sportz model.
However, my main concern is that we are looking for our next sedan in the 8 to 12 lac range and we want to have automatic transmission so that both of us can enjoy the driving.
Here's where the problem starts - all the manufacturers have automatic transmission with their highest variant

For example, let's take ex-showroom prices (Pune) of Maruti SX4 and Toyota Altis

MARUTI SX4 VXI (BSIV) - Rs 719193.79
MARUTI SX4 ZXI MT (BSIV) - Rs 792532.30
MARUTI SX4 ZXI AT (BSIV) - Rs 856804.65

Difference between ZXI MT and AT = approx 64k (ok. automatic transmission is costly)
Why can't we have VXI AT? say at 64k premium = Rs 7,85,000 which is cheaper than ZXI variant?

Corolla Altis 1.8J - 10,47,312
Corolla Altis 1.8G - 12,32,640
Corolla Altis 1.8GL - 13,78,406
Corolla Altis 1.8VL - 14,68,152 (Automatic Transmission)

Difference between 1.8GL and 1.8VL = 90k (ok. automatic transmission is costly)
Why can't we have 1.8J with Automatic Transmission at = 10.47+90k = 11.37 lacs which is cheaper than 1.8G variant?

Same is case with Honda City or Hyundai Verna or even Vento.

Do the manufacturers feel that there are only few buyers for automatic transmission and those who go for it can shell out for all the features?
At least in Pune, I see so many people driving i10 AT and I am sure slowly people in India are not averse to buying ATs. But why limit their choices with having only one variant?
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Old 17th June 2011, 14:06   #2
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

That's the way product positioning is done in Indian markets! If you look at the calculation you have made for SX4 VXI AT, do you think there would be many takers for ZXI MT?

Also, in Indian context, where fuel economy plays a significant role in decision-making process for majority of the buyers, ATs, with their relatively lower FE when compared with their manual siblings, are considered luxury more than a necessity. Hence, marketeers position, and hence, price them higher
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Old 17th June 2011, 14:07   #3
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Smile Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

The need for AT's was not there 3-4 years earlier since there was no demand and maybe due to the exorbitant pricing by the manufacturers. The Indian market for ages have been for manual operated car. The need for the AT has risen from the fact that there has been a tremendous increase in the women/senior citizen drivers, congesting traffic and lot more reasons. Slowly but surely the manufacturers are now exploring the options of providing the AT in hatches and sedans and making it slightly affordable to the common man. There is still a long way to go before the manufatcurers feel there is a genuine demand for introducing the AT options in the entry leve variants.
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Old 17th June 2011, 14:20   #4
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Well, IMO, AT is still a luxury in the Indian market, and most of the buyers do prefer all the goodies. Also, it doesn't makes sense(for the manufacturers of course) to have 3-4 variants for a wafer thin market of AT's.

How many AT's, under 10 lacs, does ALL the manufaturers sell in a year?
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Old 17th June 2011, 14:38   #5
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

If one looks at this from the other side, if the manufacturers provide AT on the base model, there could be more takers for the cars which could lead to increased sales. Today buying an AT means maximum cost upfront along with higher running costs. One may not be averse to the higher running cost if the daily running is on lower side. If the buying cost comes down, there could be more takers.
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Old 17th June 2011, 15:04   #6
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

The "why" is not that difficult to answer: ATs are perceived as luxury in this country- something that "reduces mileage" and hence is inherently for rich guys/ people who don't care about high fuel bills.

I for one think the Altis AT on the G variant would have a great market: it doesn't make sense for me to plonk 3-4 big ones for all the nonsense frills like the wood trim etc. when all I want is a slushbox.

BTW Honda City had an S-AT model sometime ago- its been discontinued now. They are now in line with the market, much to our dismay!
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Old 17th June 2011, 16:41   #7
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

It's all about money, honey!

The AT perception is as just as everyone has mentioned - "that chap must've returned from US and has tons of money".

Thru' out my schooling, I must have seen 4-5 Zens with "AT" written at the back.

Guess it is only after i10 came into the market that entry hatchbacks have started having AT as a listed variant.

Answer this simple ques : Given a choice between an AT and features such as body style bumpers, chrome fittings, steering mounted controls, what would an average Indian customer prefer? Obviously, the features.

FE is another downslide of the AT box.

There you have the answer!

In todays evolving market, AT has started climbing the hierarchy. But as Alok rightly said, there would simply be no takers for the ZXi MT in SX4s case.

PS : How much does a custom AT cost for a sedan?
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Old 17th June 2011, 17:53   #8
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simhi View Post
Same is case with Honda City or Hyundai Verna or even Vento.

Do the manufacturers feel that there are only few buyers for automatic transmission and those who go for it can shell out for all the features?
At least in Pune, I see so many people driving i10 AT and I am sure slowly people in India are not averse to buying ATs. But why limit their choices with having only one variant?
Not quite the case with the Honda City Simhi. The Autobox in the City starts in the S version which is probably the Base version of the City, well not exactly, but is one up than the top end version. I am aware that the other companies offer the autobox only on their top end version which makes no sense to me too. If you want to make the autobox popular, start by introducing it on your semi base versions.

As Noopster rightly put it, in India, an auto tranny is considered a luxury item. But things are changing and will change. One can see a few years ago, a/c was a luxury, as was a power steering and power windows, today most of us would not even consider buying a vehicle without these, which have become necessities today. Why i even had a power steering fitted on my MM550 Jeep

The Santro came with an auto tranny only on the semi base version, which had, power steering, a/c and only front power windows, besides having no rear de-fogger and no fog lamps. The price of this version was marginally lower than their top version.

Why, even today, there exist people who consider it "Macho" to drive a manual and dismiss auto tranny cars by saying, "Aree Jaldi kharaab hoga and repair nahi hoha" (will get bad easily and will never get repaired)
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Old 17th June 2011, 18:10   #9
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlokSriva View Post
That's the way product positioning is done in Indian markets! If you look at the calculation you have made for SX4 VXI AT, do you think there would be many takers for ZXI MT?
Won't there be? I mean people will still buy ZXI with more features and better mileage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
There is still a long way to go before the manufatcurers feel there is a genuine demand for introducing the AT options in the entry leve variants.
Hope this happens soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post

How many AT's, under 10 lacs, does ALL the manufaturers sell in a year?
This is something which I am also keen to know. In our monthly sales thread, if only we knew how much percentage of the overall market is the AT market? say 5%?


Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
BTW Honda City had an S-AT model sometime ago- its been discontinued now. They are now in line with the market, much to our dismay!
Honda City with AT on S Model would have been a good choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Not quite the case with the Honda City Simhi. The Autobox in the City starts in the S version which is probably the Base version of the City, well not exactly, but is one up than the top end version.
I am afraid this is no longer the case and is offered with V model only as pointed out by Noopster. Let me check out though.
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Old 17th June 2011, 18:14   #10
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Exactly what i wanted to express a few days ago Simhi, but you said it here. Also i may add that even if car manufacturers give us the option of providing AT in the base or any variant, with the condition that the delivery period will be 2-3 months (i.e. Made to Order), heck even 4 months, i am sure there will be many takers. They ought to take into consideration the growing necessity of Automatic cars specially in traffic ridden Indian cities. Personally, i don't see myself going back to manual in the near future, unless something drastically improves in our daily drive.

Last edited by anilkalvani : 17th June 2011 at 18:16.
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Old 17th June 2011, 18:56   #11
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Hi
Mostly the market is plonking on the MT since the feel of the rev is great (AT has it's own benefits no doubt)
One small fact could be that the MT gives one the feel of the pulsating engine Revving and responding (like the legendary thump of the Bullet/Harley), and leads people to try it out. Abroad the AT has been designed to handle nearly 80% of the driving but in India it is at 60% yet so a long way to go.
just to add the advertisement for a luxury liner with final catchline "Kya mileage hai" sums it all up.
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Old 17th June 2011, 19:23   #12
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Why, even today, there exist people who consider it "Macho" to drive a manual and dismiss auto tranny cars by saying, "Aree Jaldi kharaab hoga and repair nahi hoha" (will get bad easily and will never get repaired)
Very true apart form very few takers for Auto the macho thingy is there as well. I for one love the Stick Shift, Why "for no obvious reason, just love driving it" (Money, Fuel efficiency nothing).

Would i ever buy an Auto in India (Don't think so, even if it was cheaper and/or more fuel efficient).
Would i buy an Auto in US (Yes, May not like it but getting used to driving on the other side of road itself is a task. Hence when i was in US never thought of driving a Stick Shift).

I am sure there are many like me.
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Old 17th June 2011, 19:28   #13
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

isnt there another thread on the forum dealing with exactly the same subject?
Mods, could you check and merge please?
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Old 17th June 2011, 20:03   #14
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

this is one thing that is totally baffling. i mean when companies claim that they dont treat the indian market differently there is no bigger lie. i mean why should the indian consumer not have an option of an AT. below 10lacs (correct me if wrong) i believe there are what just the a-star, i10, i20, vento and honda city (vento and honda city being more than 10 lacs on road) just 5 cars thats it and no auto box in a diesel in any hatch whatsoever.

it beats me why no manufacturer wants to take the lead here. with current petrol prices a diesel AT will be an excellent option.

but coming back to the main topic it would really be great to have transmission options across variants. i mean i would love to own a xylo automatic i think that would make a fantastic car or better still an innova automatic but alas!
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Old 17th June 2011, 20:09   #15
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Default Re: Why no Automatic Transmission with Base Variant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simhi View Post
I am afraid this is no longer the case and is offered with V model only as pointed out by Noopster. Let me check out though.
Is it? I have a 2009 City "S" Auto. If they've discontinued it then im not aware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dieseldunk View Post
Hi
Mostly the market is plonking on the MT since the feel of the rev is great (AT has it's own benefits no doubt)
One small fact could be that the MT gives one the feel of the pulsating engine Revving and responding (like the legendary thump of the Bullet/Harley), and leads people to try it out. Abroad the AT has been designed to handle nearly 80% of the driving but in India it is at 60% yet so a long way to go.
just to add the advertisement for a luxury liner with final catchline "Kya mileage hai" sums it all up.
I think the Rev masters are very few, its more the disoriented lot who think the Auto will get "spoilt", those who want to extract every mili mile out of the gas so will not buy an auto and finally those who say that they do not drive and the car is always chauffeur driven so why waste the extra bucks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Very true apart form very few takers for Auto the macho thingy is there as well. I for one love the Stick Shift, Why "for no obvious reason, just love driving it" (Money, Fuel efficiency nothing).

Would i ever buy an Auto in India (Don't think so, even if it was cheaper and/or more fuel efficient).
Would i buy an Auto in US (Yes, May not like it but getting used to driving on the other side of road itself is a task. Hence when i was in US never thought of driving a Stick Shift).

I am sure there are many like me.
Chief i am like you and hated the auto for the sluggish response it gave me but now, mostly due to traffic, congestion and ease to drive, most cars in my garage are auto. The others which are not are stick shift because there was no auto option available and of course the Driver drive car only which does not need to be an auto (selfish us, but makes sense)
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