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View Poll Results: Would a value-priced Automatic Indica work?
Yes 95 70.37%
No 40 29.63%
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:03   #1
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Default The case for an Automatic Indica!

Some of you may think this is nuts (I can hear the laughter!), but ponder over it for a second. Do you think an Automatic transmission Indica would work, as an urban commuter? I think its a recipe for success. Why?

The Indica offers class-leading space, economy (diesel) and ride quality. Its a pretty good-looking hatch too, while the all new generation is expected sometime soon. Ownership costs are amongst the lowest of the hatches. Evidently, it already offers a helluva lot and 10,000 customers / month are putting their money where their mouth is.

How about a good 4 speed slushbox on the Indian hatch?
  • Tata can price it cheap. Say 4 lac odd rupees for the automatic diesel variant
  • Will be really easy to drive. The power steering is pretty light anyways, and the slushbox takes the horrible manual gearshift a thing of the past
  • Great FE. If the Indica gives 14 kpl with a manual, it should *atleast* deliver 12 with the slushbox.

In a nutshell, 4.xx lac rupees gets you a hatch that is the easiest to drive, the most spacious, has the best ride quality and offers class-leading fuel efficiency. What else does the hatch buyer want? The primary reason that many personal users do not consider the Indica is that its horrible to drive (gearshift included). Second is the image. Tata could give a different look (marginal) to the auto version. Third is the overall quality, which I hear Tata is working hard to solve with the all new gen. If Tata wants the Indica to make greater inroads into the personal segment, I have reasons to believe that an automatic Indica would be just the product for the purpose.

Our bumper-to-bumper driving conditions make a slushbox an ideal driving tool. And only Tata can sell it for a steal and ensure good fuel economy.

Last edited by GTO : 14th November 2007 at 13:06.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:09   #2
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But would it be driveable? I have my doubts. Automatics need more power and indica lacks it.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:09   #3
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One thing I do not like about our office Indica Diesel V2 or for that matter any Tata vehicle is the gear box. It'll be a success but first Tata needs to get their Manual trannies right. Once done they can look at an auto box to add success.

OT: Does the Safari come with an Auto? Can the Indica TD V2 have an auto box?
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:11   #4
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Don't you think that with the Auto tranny, it could become slower than it is?? Even the Turbo version when coupled with the Slush box might not be any great shakes. I think to have an effective product with an AT they would need a more powerful engine to do the job well.

Plus, there always the question mark on the gearbox since it'll be a first for TATA in the passenger car divison & keeping their track record in mind, it will in most probability have teething troubles.

Last edited by iraghava : 14th November 2007 at 13:17.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:20   #5
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this might be an option once Tata launch the new Indica at the Expo. However, I don't think price was really the main stumbling block for the lack of success of auto's in India. Some countries just do not have an auto culture, and we happen to be one of them, albeit for maybe the wrong reasons. i.e. people think it would be more expensive and give trouble in the long run, low FE, saps power, etc.

the few inexpensive auto's that were out there - Zen & Santro, never really did well. Those were priced well within the 5 lakh barrier and mated to very well selling models.

Plus, Tata sales are primarily to the taxi market, and for them, an auto is simply a higher overhead and more expensive to run day to day. So there is not market there.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:37   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windsurfer View Post
But would it be driveable? I have my doubts. Automatics need more power and indica lacks it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
Don't you think that with the Auto tranny, it could become slower than it is?? Even the Turbo version when coupled with the Slush box might not be any great shakes.
Wont be too difficult for Tata to add 10 - 15 horses. Their new common-rail is already capable of it; only the drivetrain needs an upgrade. The focus must be on torque delivery as a slushbox hatch is more suited to (and should be used only in) the city.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtech View Post
However, I don't think price was really the main stumbling block for the lack of success of auto's in India. Some countries just do not have an auto culture, and we happen to be one of them, albeit for maybe the wrong reasons. i.e. people think it would be more expensive and give trouble in the long run, low FE, saps power, etc.
Correct. But the only competitive auto-hatch so far has been the Santro. The auto-zen was a waste : 3 speed auto with a zero-torque engine. Also, this has a lot to do with awareness. Most simply dont think of an auto when considering a car purchase. It just doesnt cross their mind. Tata would, of course, have to market it heavily.

Again, only Tata could make an auto a value-proposition. Well-priced, decent FE and low maintainence costs.

Quote:
Tata sales are primarily to the taxi market, and for them, an auto is simply a higher overhead and more expensive to run day to day. So there is not market there.
Absolutely correct. Thats why I post:

Quote:
If Tata wants the Indica to make greater inroads into the personal segment, I have reasons to believe that an automatic Indica would be just the product for the purpose.
They already have a strong commercial presence. This product could potentially increase the number of personal customers. Also, this may not necessarily takes customers away from existing hatchbacks; it could create an entire new segment of buyers.

Is it worth a try for the ever-ambitious Tata? Hell ya! What have they got to lose? The Indica petrol isnt a match for the Jap / Korean hatches and Tata knows it. They must differentiate to increase sales.

Last edited by GTO : 14th November 2007 at 13:40.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:42   #7
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well - indica has started its journey into unfamiliar territory already - they are offering the ABs and Airbags - pretty unheard off in a small car (prior to the swift and the initial Palio 1.6 GTXs). so a "slush" box would be a nice feature. And yeah - If it did exist within the 5L range- i would buy it- cause it will be a diesel car (easy on the wallet) auto trans.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:43   #8
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Tata has a 1.4L DICOR engine, limited to 70bhp instead of the 90bhp which it is capable of.
the limit is due to the gearbox.
Now lets say a new 4 speed auto box mated to this engine. Ex showroom price for Delhi 4.4L
This 90bhp auto will be the ideal machine.
As for the petrol engine, Tata has a 100bhp version of the 1.4 liter too. So the only component which Tata lacks is a 4 speed auto. With all those global acquisitions and with some help for fiat, it wont be difficult for them to get an Automatic gearbox.
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:49   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Tata has a 1.4L DICOR engine, limited to 70bhp instead of the 90bhp which it is capable of.
the limit is due to the gearbox.
I dont buy the limit because of gearbox thing.


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As for the petrol engine, Tata has a 100bhp version of the 1.4 liter too.
Because of this. How come this engine isnt limited by the gearbox?
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Old 14th November 2007, 13:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
I dont buy the limit because of gearbox thing.
Because of this. How come this engine isnt limited by the gearbox?
100bhp is a petrol engine with much lower torque. Lower than the 70bhp DICOR.
A non common rail 1.4L churns out 70bhp, so whats the big deal about 90bhp with a new head.
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Old 14th November 2007, 14:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
I dont buy the limit because of gearbox thing.




Because of this. How come this engine isnt limited by the gearbox?
because of "torque". the problem is not BHP but the torque that the 1.4 dicor is capable of- the geabox cant handle that.
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Old 14th November 2007, 14:18   #12
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It would be a great idea.

I kind-of like the wording of your question, though: would it work? Well, that depends on the engineering, and Tata engineering hasn't impressed me much so far.

Rtech has a good point. The people who "should" be driving automatics are the professionals, the cab drivers out in the city traffic all day. You won't find many manual changes on London Taxi cabs!

But the culture is against it. The drivers won't like it, and the owners will say it is too expensive, and fuel consumption is worse.

In reality, I think they might find autos cheaper to run. Many 'pro' drivers have the worst habits; letting the engine labour being in too higher gear, too much acceleration/breaking to dart in and out of traffic, slipping clutch, etc.
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Old 14th November 2007, 14:25   #13
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Looking at the demographic of the people who buy a automatic, will someone buy a Indica with Automatic ? I dont think so.
If they want to give a choice among people who would, then it has to be on the new generation diesel that would be coming out.
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Old 14th November 2007, 14:34   #14
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Also, simplest thing in the world to carry over the slushbox to the Indigo. An automatic spacious diesel sedan for 6.xx lacs? IMHO there is a ready market waiting there too!
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Old 14th November 2007, 14:37   #15
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I really see no point in adding an auto tranny to Indica. Sure it has a good customer base, but more than half of it is from the Taxi segment, where cost matters more rather than ease of driving.

Indica has got a rep of being a taxi vehicle which makes potential buyers look at other alternatives. Adding the auto box will not bring back these customers to tata.
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