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View Poll Results: No Automatic for me because:
Fuel-efficiency concerns 236 18.64%
I love Manual transmissions! 507 40.05%
AT option is unavailable on my choice of car (including diesels) 386 30.49%
I don't think the cost premium (75 - 100K) is worth it 210 16.59%
Maintenance concerns 150 11.85%
Other reason (please specify in your post) 36 2.84%
Not applicable. My next car WILL be an Automatic 287 22.67%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 1266. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 8th June 2015, 11:27   #526
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

I believe all reasons are as valid and as applicable as any one because the most relevant reason would tend to possibly differ from person to person and would be subject to topical consideration as well at the time of purchase.

Take me for example

When i bought my first car, a Wagon R , there was no AT available at that price range so there was simply no option.

When i bought the Fabia , almost 3.5 years ago there were again no options available.

When i bought the T-Jet , i was clearly happy to sacrifice on FE but then again there was no AT available i believe or definitely not a seemingly reliable DSG set-up that one see's available today for the sedans and the hatches in the sub 10 range.

With possibly the exception of the first car purchase i would have paid a premium to get an AT for the both the other 2 purchases, provided that it was available, i would have been ok taking an old school setup during the Fabia but during the T-Jet mind evolved to a DSG level unit.

My next car will definitely be an automatic, at this point in time the 1.8 Octavia sits right on top of that possible list for 2016 / 2017. I love driving a manual but i do believe that there is a substantial fun factor with automatics as well especially DSG units, sports mode / Tiptronic features , sure the left foot might need to re-train itself over the course of a few days and weeks but in this case , old dogs can learn new tricks.
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Old 8th June 2015, 11:38   #527
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

When we say Automatic, we should mention the 2 types of automatic options we have here - one is the traditional AT car with limited manual driving optins like D1,D2 etc. Other is the DSG, Paddle-shifter cars like Superb, Civic etc. which is the best of both worlds as in here one gets the comfort of an automatic but also a full-fledged manual mode for performance buffs.

Being driving manual transmission cars for like 10 years. And just 2 weeks ago I bought a Civic Automatic - my first auto tranny; not because I want to drive an automatic car, but the paddle shifts are too cool. It gives the impression of driving a Ferrari and such.

Now coming to this car, I dont feel any difference in power or mileage between manual transmission Civic and the paddle shift mode in automatic Civic except the lack of clutch. Older generation automatics that had limited manual shift options could have been a disappointment for driving enthusiasts like me, but these newer DSG and paddle shifters are as good as any MT cars. And for people like me, mileage is not a deal-breaker else we would be driving alto or nano or something like that.

Driving in automatic mode is a whole another story. As 60% of my drive is through bumper to bumper city traffic in Kochi, choosing the auto mode gives considerable rest to left hand which is a bliss. Sometimes its better to choose comfort over power. For a spirited driving there's always the paddle shift/DSG mode.
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Old 8th June 2015, 11:41   #528
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

Originally Posted by roby.thomas View Post
The next is that, I might have a trouble once I am comfortable with the automatic. You often have chances to switch to manual (That's not going to disappear anytime soon) of your friend or family member as the situation may be, and I don't want to be at utter chaos then. The same happens with power steering, now I find it extremely difficult to turn a Maruti 800, which once upon a time felt feather-light compared to the Premier Padmini's.
I had this same fear when I switched to an AT. All other cars in the immediate family are manuals and I was worried that I would struggle with the manual after some time. Absolutely no problem. It just comes back naturally and you are totally comfortable within a minute. And sometimes I drive a manual after a gap of several months. Of course, in the crowded city roads, I am not really happy to be driving the manual, but I have no problem doing so.
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Old 8th June 2015, 11:52   #529
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

I learnt driving in an Omni, so the concept of the auto transmissions were alien to me until I came across them in my travels to US & Europe. This is before I had bought a car in India so with time and getting used to driving these cars, I decided that no matter what I would buy an automatic considering Bangalore traffic.

So in 2008 when I was looking for my first car in India with ABS, airbags & auto transmission, my option were pretty much limited to the i10 auto under 10 lakhs. However I must say Hyundai gave me no room to complain as the car was fully loaded with eveyrthing I wanted and a few things that I didn't like a freaking sunroof! People around me thought I was bonkers for buying an i10 for 6.5 lakhs.

However having owned the car for more than 6 years now and considering the kind of hassle free ownership and experience I have had, I am going to buy an automatic again and this time it will be a DSG. So auto haters please take a hike, I just hope the companies keep providing the auto option at least.
I still can't get over the fact that Hyundai doesn't offer the i20 elite in auto and hence my business will most probably go to VW for giving the consumers the option of getting a DSG in cars under 10 and 15 lakh brackets.
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:02   #530
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

I think an often missed point is the increasing maturity of the indian market.

1. Pricing is not as sensitive an issue anymore for a fair section of the market, as automatic options are now available across several budgets.

- You can choose a lower trim auto option over a higher trim manual option like in the Honda City.
- You can altogether skip a more expensive model, for a lower model with automatic transmission and all gizmos (like verna top model against the elantra starting models)

2. Automatic is moving from being a luxury choice to a sensible choice.

- Mileage is nearly the same, or even otherwise, a difference of 1 or 1.5 kmpl is not an issue for most of the market. People tend to factor that into the cost of having a driver
- Technical competency of the automatics has seriously improveed. As CVTs and DSGs have acceptable performance now.

Last edited by acidkill : 8th June 2015 at 12:03.
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:04   #531
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

As technology advances the automatic transmission in my eyes are getting the same if not better fuel efficiency's then their manual counter parts. I just dont see auto trannys getting famous in I10's, Wagon R's, etc. because they cost like 25% of the car cost. I dont think i'd buy it if I was in that situation, I'd probably try to get a better car?
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:22   #532
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

I expected someone to bring one point, the one I deliberately missed out in my earlier post.

Ego - I have heard many purists say this "automatic cars are for those who do not know to drive". More than the fun to drive, many consider it as a prestige issue - especially those who have been driving manuals for a long long time, say since the 60s or 70s.

Basically it is the initial aversion to change that is common across all fields and automobile industry is no exception. This is one of the reasons why automatics did not take off initially. However, the younger generation is clearly seeing the advantage of automatics and are preferring that if an option fits in their budget and ticks most other boxes. I welcome this change and hope EVERY car sold in the market has automatic options - at least in mid trim and top trim.
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:22   #533
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

I see a couple of reasons. My dad is looking to upgrade to a new car . When I suggested an automatic City/Vento/Rapid/Verna as an upgrade. This is what he said.

1) Automatics are more expensive than a manual tranny.
2) Mileage is lower than a manual.
3) Manuals are easier to drive and maintain
4) If I drive the car and not the cheauffer , why waste money on an auto?

I think this holds for most of the buyers in the markets in a cost sensitive market like India. The penetration of automatics in India are really low and I feel it will stay this way for a bit .
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:34   #534
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

Still manufacturers are shying away with A/T being fully loaded like maruti.
I want to buy their small car fully loaded but they don't have one.
last one I bought A star has ABS but no Airbags.
Hope they will soon give priority to people buy fully loaded A/T cars.
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:45   #535
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

Couple of other factors that come into play are the price conscious market of ours whose attitude towards buying is to buy something that is least expensive and friends/family/relatives/colleagues who discourage you from trying anything new on the pretext of going for the tried and tested.
Early adoption of any technology in our country is a big no especially if it is not fuel efficient, driving auto was also considered to be inefficient, even if you drive a manual like a maniac resulting in a similar or low FE.
What has changed is the current buyer who is savvy in terms of what his needs are and the thanks he gets from his knees after the pardon on the punishment of not having to clutch his way to home.
Remember having a similar conversation with a few enthusiast who laugh at the mention of auto on how its no "fun" and then complaint driving Bumper to Bumper traffic is also not "fun".
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Old 8th June 2015, 13:05   #536
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

Apart from initial cost and (perceived) increase in running costs. There is also a perception that driving an automatic is something inferior (or rather peer pressure). Am pretty sure lot of early adopters of AT would have gotten questiions like 'WHaaat?? you drive an AT???'

Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
One immediate evil of auto/AMT cars is it will promote talking on mobiles while driving. Today even in manual cars I see almost half the drivers are on phone. With an auto, they will be even less bothered about driving.
I'd say AT has little bearing on people talking on mobiles. In the 3 years in Italy, more than half drive speaking mobiles and there is hardly any AT penetration. Except for taxis, majority of the private vehicles are MT here. The same theory applies in India too.
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Old 8th June 2015, 13:23   #537
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

There are many reasons...

1. Mostly ATs were available in Petrol Models only and many were hesitant to go for petrol models as cost per litre is higher.

2. Traffic in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai has gone up so much that it is a pain to switch gears now a days.

3. AT models always claimed lower mileage than the MT models.

4. Now ATs are available from the Lower budget hatchbacks onwards. So cost of purchase is not a worry.

The change that has happened is a welcome one. More people will go for ATs especially in cities ones the reliability factor of each model becomes clear as time passes by.
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Old 8th June 2015, 14:09   #538
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Default Re: Understanding the AT transmission myth in India

My point of view: once you get used to driving an automatic, there are workarounds for pretty much each of the perceived hang-ups. You can use manual mode to downshift at will and overtake on highways. This also gives you the "perfect control" that MT lovers so complain about. the FE loss is 1 kmpl at best compared to the MT equivalent, and these days ATs are tuned for efficiency rather than pickup anyway. And it doesn't matter how good or bad the roads are, an AT driver is definitely more relaxed and comfortable, especially on long drives.

In my case, it was very clear: I wanted a good AT vehicle for my daily commute. In 2010 when I was shopping, only the Vento and City had AT options in the segment of choice; in hatchbacks, none! Today the market has woken up to the reality and my next hatch (to replace the Swift) may well be an AT too!
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Old 8th June 2015, 14:26   #539
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Just not changing gear and exerting the left leg in stop-go traffic is good enough reason to go for an AT. In stop and go traffic, it can get quite frustrating and tiring to change gear/press clutch, and hunt (upshift/downshift) to the proper gear.

Have been using an AT for 8+ years now and quite happy.
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Old 8th June 2015, 14:29   #540
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Smile Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

I cannot think of driving an AT and let the microprocessor control the way I drive. The stick makes me feel connected to the heart of the automobile and I could never imagine letting go of it.

But that is me. For people who us a car for purely commuting purposes, I am sure an AT would be a blessing, specially in the Indian metros and I would definitely suggest an AT for a newbie.
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