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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 20th November 2011, 21:41   #91
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Voted for Fuel efficiency and maintenance concerns.
On second thoughts, should have voted for 'I love manual' as well.
Automatics are convenient, but so is a public transport bus

In general, I like my vehicles to be simpler. Simple things fail less often. Automatics add weight and complexity to the car.
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Old 20th November 2011, 21:53   #92
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Copying and pasting from my blog here for easier access

Small Diesel Automatic cars in India

The rising petrol costs have been a concern to the common man in India for the last couple of years ever since the government has regularized the petrol prices. Most of the common man or the lower-middle, middle and upper-middle class usually tends to have only petrol vehicles. This class of people rides nearly 10K-20K kilometers an year on either 2 wheelers or 4 wheelers. The same class of the people are the among the highest income tax payers in the country. The prices of diesel, kerosene, LPG and CNG are still controlled by the government.

Most of the friends and family who knows me know me also as an automobile enthusiast and always keep asking me advices and references on the new vehicles. Most recently one of the patterns that I have observed is that nearly 80% of new car requests are coming for automatic option in the hatch-batch category or the less than 6 lacs ex-showroom prices. There are only 2 automatic options that are available in the country which are Hyundai i10 and Maruti A-star which are powered by petrol engines.

The only two petrol automatic small cars in India

Hyundai i10 Automatic is nearly 55K higher than the same manual option, which is nearly 12% higher cost. The fuel average that is offered is around 9-10kmpl in the city which is almost 35% lesser than manual shift which offers around 14-15 kmpl. These middle class people are more concerned with drop in fuel average of 35% at the fuel cost of Rs75+ per liter which would mean that the effective price of a liter of petrol to above Rs 100.

Maruti A-star is a flop model in the country mainly due to the fact that it is a really small car, highly priced and cannot really accommodate adults in the back seat. For me, I cannot even sit in the drivers seat. The automatic model is around 50K higher than the manual option which is nearly 12% higher than the similar manual version. However, the mileage for this car is around 13kmpl in the city which is the only USP for this car automatic model. Remember that the manual shift gear gives a mileage of nearly 18 kmpl in the city which is again close to 30% loss. The families who buy this car are mainly either women who cannot handle manual shift gear or small frame adults who prefer an automatic version for convenience. Most people do not even want to talk about an A-star as their choice

So in summary, there is automatic car pushes the fuel cost by 30- 35%.

What about small automatic diesel cars?

There is no talk about it. Why? Because, people who come to buy diesel car does not really bother about automatic mainly due to the fact that they are paying a premium of nearly 25% or upto 1 lakh over the similar petrol version. If I remember correctly, there has been no major discounts offered on Diesel cars other than 10+lakh which are outgoing models. So what does that mean, Indian population is ready to buy diesel vehicles at any costs even though it does not look so nice in capital expenditure sheets. This is mainly due to the fact that
(a) people feel more relaxed to take out their cars for their needs without worrying about the distance
(b)do not have to worry carrying huge amount of cash for fuel bills
(c) do not have to worry switching off the engine at the signals and sit without Air-conditioning
(d) Do not have to worry about adulteration in Petrol on highway fuel stations after which their vehicle does not run.
(e) Higher torque engines which gives pulling power with full family or load
(f) Higher fuel averages, i.e one full tank can cover from one city to another

All this is on top of the known disadvantages such as Noisy engines, higher maintenance costs, higher insurance costs etc.

I was asking one of my friend who is in the automobile industry why there is no diesel automatic option in small cars even though the high end cars above 15 lacs has many automatic options. What he said was that the expert market research team has found that there is no demand for a small diesel automatic car in the country. I said it might be not fully true as per the assumptions. To understand this with more evidence and prove it, I have created an online market survey hereon this topic, please click on the link and answer your feedback.

What makes my intuition very strong here about the diesel automatic cars requirement in India is the same reason why there was a strong demand for an SUV in sub 10 lakh segment and the Honda Jazz (read more here) to be priced 1.5 lakh lower than the originally introduced price. We have seen run-away success for XUV500 and Honda Jazz closing their bookings after they have given what the market has demanded.
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Old 20th November 2011, 22:10   #93
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Would look forward to an automatic city runabout which is not too bad to drive. Test drove both the i10 and the A* autos. Detested both.

I have a question for all those who chose manual for the joy of driving. What joy does one get if the shift quality is vague and rubbery, or the box slow and balky, or the engine ponderous and rev unhappy? Where would an auto fit in then?

(Incidentally I consider myself a petrolhead. I love driving. I have both.)

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Old 20th November 2011, 22:31   #94
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Originally Posted by sam003 View Post
My Next SUV will be Fortuner AT 4*4. I never had problem and do not think Fuel is anyway concern with AT. This is where your driving skills comes into play. My Friend has Civic AT, he is claiming 14+ many times. So where is Fuel mileage concern.
Automatics with torque converters are inherently less fuel efficient then manual counterparts because
  • Power loss at the TC (which is a hydraulic coupling)
  • Additional weight (more then 50 kg) automatics carry
I am sure your friend can manage 18+ on a MT civic
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Old 20th November 2011, 22:40   #95
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

I'd love to go for an AT. But unfortunately we hardly have any options. The present AT market scenario is like - Take it or leave it.
IMO, B segment and upwards, all cars must be provided with multiple engine options , one of them being AT. It should be left to the consumer to decide what is right for him or her, rather than settling for a different car altogether.
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Old 21st November 2011, 01:09   #96
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Because there are no affordable diesel AT's available. The cheapest is Verna I think..
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Old 21st November 2011, 07:52   #97
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

"There are'nt to many choices for an economical city runabout AT!" well i typed that and then decided to count - glad to say the list is longer than I imagined - did'nt know that the SX4 and i20 were available as autoboxes - for that matter even the vento had skipped my mind...

I do wonder if this is a feeling most of the consumers face - lack of awareness, non availability of the test drives for an autobox, no encouragement from the showroom staff... Now if these are'nt addressed first i'm sure 90% of the customers won't even consider the automatic options. (And I reckon only 50-60% of those considering it for the first time around would actually take the plunge)

While shopping around for my i10 ~ 2.5 yrs ago, I briefly considered the automatic (even though it was out of budget and at that point in time I thought it to be a unnecessary luxury) But the showroom staff were almost discouraging and quite strongly proclaimed I was better of with a manual - sure this was a long time back and I was'nt really serious about the AT anyway, but I wonder if things have changed since..
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Old 21st November 2011, 08:43   #98
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Unlike many others in here, I learnt driving on an automatic Then moved on to manual as I found automatic a bit "boring". Migrating to manual was not hard as I was ok with shifting gears when needed in my Pulsar.

Other than that, when it comes to owning a car, I think the fuel consumption concerns always stayed in the back of my head.
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Old 21st November 2011, 09:05   #99
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Excellent thread, I hope some of the manufacturers read this! Especially Maruti!
I own a diesel and most likely my next car will be a diesel too, say under 10 lakhs, which means there is hardly any choice of A/Ts, except for the verna or may be the new fiesta. Secondly even when they have one, it is at least 75 k more expensive than the M/T! I have driven my diesel dzire in Bangalore traffic for 3.5 years now, have done close to 50k in these conditions. Yes, I do not have the sufficient experience in A/T to justify my stance towards MT, but considering the premium, I would rather spend the extra money in a better equipped car and continue drving the way I have been. A/T will work for me only when its premium is less than 40k or so and it has to be available in a 8-9 lakh diesel sedan for me to even consider it.
But I think some one like Maruti has failed to take a big challenge upfront here. If hyundai can have AT in the i10, i20 and the verna, then why cannot Maruti just not have it in the Swift? I see a lot of ladies opting for the i10 at inspite of its premium pricing. If there was a swift available in AT, i'm sure many would have considered the swift instead of the i10. Whats the point of AT in an A-STAR? if 10% of its volumes were AT, then Maruti would be making just 200 A STAR ATs, whereas if they sold 10% AT in the swift they would have managed close to a 1000 cars, which is a good economy of scale!
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Old 21st November 2011, 09:08   #100
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

I would still consider the electric reva if it were priced sensibly. The perfect little city runabout. Given the rising cost of fuel and difficulty in parking, I wish the govt would incentivize the purchase of the reva. That would certainly cause some amount of migration from other small vehicles to happen!
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Old 21st November 2011, 09:40   #101
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

My choice was 'Other reason'. I primarily feel that there aren't any reasonably priced automatics that would give you the performance satisfaction of a manual. The really good automatics are at the far end of the price segment. The more affordable automatics are sluggish, and they nanny the driver a lot.
Give me something like a Linea T-Jet with a quick witted auto and paddle shifts and I will put it on top of my wish list. A Vento / Rapid diesel auto would be awesome fun as well. Ford's got a good auto for the new Fiesta, but is let down by the gutless engine.
Imagine how delicious the Laura TSI would have been with the 6-speed DSG and paddle shifts.
One can definitely not question the convenience of an auto in current traffic conditions.
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Old 21st November 2011, 10:22   #102
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

After having paid an advance for the Big Daddy, the mighty Pajero, I cancelled the booking after I drove the Ford Endeavour automatic. The automatic option on an SUV with a powerful engine presented a whole new world. The autobox is not in the leagues of the City, BMW or Audi, it's decent enough for a vehicle of big proportions and a powerful engine. I never regretted the choice ever though I had enjoyed zapping around in a Zen and Swift previously.

Without getting into anything technical-

1) Comfort. Allows you to relax and concentrate just on the road. On the odd days when I have to take the beast within the city, the AT is a reassuring friend.
2) Long drives: the feeling that you could go on and on and on, instead of the desperation to reach the destination (on an MT). OK, this is may be an advantage with SUVs and not ATs, but since mine is both, this worked for me.

1) Makes you lazy. You might doze off in the midst of a drive
2) Boring; yes.

The AT may not be for the ones who love to drive (MTs) but is certainly for the ones who routinely drive on crowded roads, very long drives etc. and where reaching the destination (the long drive) or driving sedately and defensively is important.

After having loved MTs and moving to an AT, I can now say that I'll never go back to an MT. But ah yes, in the back of mind, there is this someone remindig of the spirited and zapping drives on an MT, but I'd prefer that remain a good memory.

Thus ends an off-topic comment
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Old 21st November 2011, 10:24   #103
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

Voted for the 'Love manual transmission'

Not that I have driven any auto cars before, but we drive a petrol with nice gearing that makes shifting effortless even in the city.
And I used to drive a Bajaj Saffire sometime back with 3 gear Auto transmission. That sure is in the back of my mind.

And City is where you need manual transmission if you want to boss rogue drivers.
No that was actually not what I entirely meant, but I drive mostly in the non-peak hour traffic, and do most of the highway runs. So Auto is not my choice.

My next car would be a diesel hybrid which makes zero sound and zero emissions and one that comes with paddle shift.
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Old 21st November 2011, 10:39   #104
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

A very timely post. I have been considering the AT for city traffic but there are very few options in the small segment. Having an auto in the 3-4L range in the small hatch segment would be a boon for the indian city conditions (driving & parking). There are quite a few people who do not want to drive in the city because of the hassles of shifting gears, AT could easily cater and drive this market segment.

I would love to see a well priced Nano/Alto/Brio AT!

Geared cars are still the preferred option for motor heads but there are times when you want a peaceful/pleasant city ride completely avoiding the multiple shifts from 1-2-1-2-1-2..
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Old 21st November 2011, 10:41   #105
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Default Re: So, why don't you buy an Automatic?

I simply love my civic AT. All the gear changes can easily be done with the right foot, instead of the left. Yes, there is a drop of about 10% in power / FE as well as costs about 5-10% more expensive, but the sheer comfort / relaxation is more than 100%.

I hate taking out my other manual cars unless really required. There also my laziness has taken over - I am so reluctant to change gears, many times I simply potter about in third.

Mentally I am so at peace, whether in heavy traffic or highway, I am very relaxed and fresh for a business meeting, even after a 45 minutes drive in heavy traffic. I do not worry if I have to brake for an idiot who has just cut in inconsiderately and then have to change gears to resume my momentum. The computer and AT does it all.

Another advantage is engine life. I believe an AT contributes to long engine life, simply because the engine is always in its optimum rpm. In manual one many times makes mistakes selecting the wrong gear resulting in lugging/knocking or useless high revving.
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