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Old 6th January 2014, 19:46   #31
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

I would have been more excited if Maruti was to invest and focus more on Automatic transmission. World over people prefer to use Automatic transmission (AT) over Manual transmission for convenience and ease of use.

While in India AT sales are picking up, price is a big barrier and this is because most of the auto makers import AT gearbox given their low volumes. I don't think poor sales has anything to do with low fuel economy. Honda with its new City has proved that AT can deliver better fuel economy than manual.

Rather than offering a hybrid technology which will be difficult for people to comprehend, I would have expected Maruti which has over 40% of the market share to focus and invest in Automatic transmission technology.
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Old 6th January 2014, 20:19   #32
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Originally Posted by damager21 View Post
While in India AT sales are picking up, price is a big barrier and this is because most of the auto makers import AT gearbox given their low volumes.
Irrespective of whether it is an AT or AMT, adoption rates for automatics are not going to skyrocket overnight. It will take at least a couple years before AT buyers can reach the critical mass to justify the economies of scale even for a brand like Maruti. Till that time, every part that is not shared with MT box would come with a high cost which in turn slows down the adoption rate.

Isn't the high cost of AT over MT variants a reason why AMT would be a better option than AT? In case of AMT box, most parts are shared with the MT box and hence the cost would be much lower than AT, making more people consider it instead of MT.

If you see the price difference between AT and MT for Maruti vs other brands, you can clearly see the scale benefits that Maruti enjoys for MT parts. Otherwise, you would have seen similar difference for other brands too. AMT is the only way Maruti can sell automatics while leveraging their scale benefits for at least some parts and give a reasonable pricing .

Last edited by zenren : 6th January 2014 at 20:21.
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Old 6th January 2014, 21:31   #33
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

In the late 90's, there was something similar offered by a Chennai (or Coimbatore) based firm (I think), i.e., an automatic mechanism for the clutch.

It had a selector button also, through which the driver could activate the system so that the car could be driven in the semi-auto mode, or deactivate it and drive in the normal fashion. The device could be fitted to any car, and if I'm right, "Car & Bike International" or the "Indian Auto Journal" carried a very positive initial impression about it.

There were also some advertisements from the manufacturer, and I actually made an inquiry with them for my Maruti 800. But the Maruti dealer warned about losing my warranty, and since no dealer for the product was available in Kerala, I dropped the plan eventually.

I think the present one from Maruti might be somewhat similar, as such a simple set- up would have few reliability issues, especially with a light engine with modest output.

Last edited by Yeldo : 6th January 2014 at 21:33.
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Old 6th January 2014, 21:54   #34
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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I think the present one from Maruti might be somewhat similar, as such a simple set- up would have few reliability issues, especially with a light engine with modest output.
Theoretically, it is simple. You can have a switch operated lever that simulates the action of pressing the clutch which is more or less the underlying principle. With this sort of implementation which is simple, there would be a substantial lag in changing the gears which would impact the drivability.

The whole system gets exponentially complex when the lag time while shifting is brought down. In order to achieve AT shift speeds, they would need to have the ECU sense the gear shifts once the driver gives the input and activate the clutch. This circuit and the whole mechanism can get complex for a couple of seconds gain.

MPower has mentioned his experience while driving old generation AMT which clearly echoes the expectation of every potential end user.

In US, most drivers are 'afraid' of MT and might be willing to compromise a few glitches and slight lag as long as it is AT. For Indians, if they are paying additional $$ for automatic, they'll expect it to be better worth it on usability front without compromises. If you are to compromise anyway, why not do it while saving a few bucks by buying MT.

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AMT's are the simplest of automatic transmissions and are also the slowest shifting.

I have driven 2 cars with AMT and both were extremely unpleasurable to drive. One was an Alfa Romeo Selespeed (by MM) and the other for a Smart For2. Shift speed was slower than what a half decent driver can manage.
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Old 6th January 2014, 22:17   #35
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

Maruti today offers AT only in Ritz, A-Star and Dzire. Hyundai offers AT in i10, Grand i10, i20, Verna, Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe.

Adoption rate will go up only if car manufacturers were to market and sell automatic variants aggressively. The problem gets accentuated by the fact that car makers offer Automatic transmission only with the high end variants.

Look at Ford EcoSport, it is not that people are buying Ambiente variant which is available for 5.6 lacs. Ford has strongly marketed SYNC, Ecoboost engine, Keyless entry, etc which has led to a huge demand for top variants.

There will always be a demand and appetite to pay slightly more for something which makes everyone's life easy. Its all about who will blink first and take the plunge.
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Old 6th January 2014, 22:44   #36
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Look at Ford EcoSport, it is not that people are buying Ambiente variant which is available for 5.6 lacs. Ford has strongly marketed SYNC, Ecoboost engine, Keyless entry, etc which has led to a huge demand for top variants.
Wrong. Ford dealers are refusing to take bookings for 1.5 MT Ecosport almost since launch. There are very few delivered. They force you to buy the top end variants by quoting impossible delivery dates for lower variants.
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Old 6th January 2014, 22:46   #37
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Why is India a dumping ground for garbage. Almost all countries (including Lanka and Bangladesh) have matured out of AMT, but someone in suzuki saw India as a dumping ground of this old outdated technology.
For all that we know, AMT models will win the coty awards + half dozen magazine reviews.
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Old 6th January 2014, 22:57   #38
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Originally Posted by zenren View Post
Theoretically, it is simple. You can have a switch operated lever that simulates the action of pressing the clutch which is more or less the underlying principle.

If I am correct, the switch was to select between modes, and it did not engage/ disengage the clutch. I remember the magazine article that the car could be brought to a halt without shifting gears, and once you wanted to move forward, you could select the appropriate gear.
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Old 6th January 2014, 23:03   #39
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yeldo View Post
If I am correct, the switch was to select between modes, and it did not engage/ disengage the clutch. I remember the magazine article that the car could be brought to a halt without shifting gears, and once you wanted to move forward, you could select the appropriate gear.
what I meant was underlying principle. It need not be manually operated. If you've got a sensor on the tachometer that activates when the rpm increases to a certain value, you've got your automatic 'switch' for upshift. Same with downshift - a sensor that activates when the rpm falls below a specific value to trigger a downshift.

EDIT: I didn't read the article/news you mentioned. I was just indicating how a seemingly simple thing can become highly complicated when the research focuses on extracting maximum efficiency.

Last edited by zenren : 6th January 2014 at 23:06.
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Old 7th January 2014, 00:40   #40
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

I just remembered another car that I have driven with AMT. Maserati Coupe Camriocorsa...sexy beast of a car in which the AMT was shifted much faster, but still jerky at hi rpm and kinda clunky at low. But somehow it suited the raw and brutish feel of the car.

Not sure how well it would work on a Maruti

Last edited by Mpower : 7th January 2014 at 00:42.
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Old 7th January 2014, 06:29   #41
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

I remember seeing ads in auto magazines on semi automatics - I presume this is the same. There were local companies offering to fit this. I think there are some old threads here on semi AT aftermarket.
Good for the folk who want the ease of clutch-less at lower cost. I guess these will cost less than conventional ATs or CVTs. Is it a dated technology?
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Old 7th January 2014, 09:16   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mints21 View Post
I do recall that Hero Motors (Erstwhile Hero Honda) had launched a similar technique two wheeler by the name "STREET" sometime in year 1997-98, it had no clutch but one could still change gears. I do not know what led to its failure, was it not successful technically or did the people reject it.
AFAIK, the Street died as people didn't accept that semi-automatic transmission.

It felt like riding a half Honda Activa and half Splendor, people got used to the clutch lever while changing gears but the HH Street didn't have one so getting used to took time. IMO, The concept was pretty good but that was implemented to early.

TVS Jive to runs on similar technology but sadly no takers for that piece of engineering.

Anurag.
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Old 7th January 2014, 09:50   #43
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
AFAIK, the Street died as people didn't accept that semi-automatic transmission.
The over- confident pricing of the Street and its visual similarity with the Bajaj M50/ M80 also were factors that led to the Street's unmaking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zenren View Post
what I meant was underlying principle. It need not be manually operated. If you've got a sensor on the tachometer that activates when the rpm increases to a certain value, you've got your automatic 'switch' for upshift. Same with downshift - a sensor that activates when the rpm falls below a specific value to trigger a downshift.

EDIT: I didn't read the article/news you mentioned.
AFAIK, it was a purely mechanical device. No sensors or electronic linkages.
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Old 7th January 2014, 10:07   #44
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Originally Posted by gsurya View Post
Wrong. Ford dealers are refusing to take bookings for 1.5 MT Ecosport almost since launch. There are very few delivered. They force you to buy the top end variants by quoting impossible delivery dates for lower variants.
Valid point. But let's not forget that despite this, customers are still booking top end variants. I don't think anyone can Force you to buy something, dealers are Pushing customers to buy top end variants.

The only reason why a customer with 6 lacs budget would pay 7 or 8 lacs would be for the value he is getting for it. Ecoboost engine which Ford promoted so heavily is also in huge demand, but given the supply constraints, Ford has suspended bookings till March. Just goes to show that Indians are not averse to technology if communicated in the right way and offered at the right price.

Automatic transmission is the way to go. The last thing you want is auto makers to offer old technology like AMT in India just because there is no cost implication.
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Old 7th January 2014, 19:11   #45
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Default re: Maruti to offer AMT (Automated Manual - "EZdrive") in its small cars

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Originally Posted by Yeldo View Post
AFAIK, it was a purely mechanical device. No sensors or electronic linkages.
AMT is a type of manual transmission that doesn’t require using a clutch while changing the gears. An electronic control unit and a hydraulic system control the use of the clutch and gear changes, allowing the driver to shift gears, either sequentially or automatically.

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