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Old 9th January 2011, 19:50   #31
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Call me stupid or weird or a naysayer
-- i have been waiting for this market to come to terms of the advantages of an automatic ever since i returned from US in 2006. I have been waiting to buy a small diesel automatic hatchback which can fulfill my city and long distance driving needs ( with abs \airbags of-course). However there hasn't been even one manufacturer who can get all these requirements fulfilled for a customer like me. Either I am a very demanding customer or the market tends to remain immature .... waiting for an automatic revolution for things to change
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Old 9th January 2011, 21:01   #32
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

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Call me stupid or weird or a naysayer
-- i have been waiting for this market to come to terms of the advantages of an automatic ever since i returned from US in 2006. I have been waiting to buy a small diesel automatic hatchback which can fulfill my city and long distance driving needs ( with abs \airbags of-course). However there hasn't been even one manufacturer who can get all these requirements fulfilled for a customer like me. Either I am a very demanding customer or the market tends to remain immature .... waiting for an automatic revolution for things to change
I for that matter learnt to drive in US on an AT, and when I came to India - I had the same requirements as yours. Due to parking space restrictions + driving ease in the city, I wanted a diesel AT hatch w/ ABS+ Airbags. There was/is none. So I chose the next best thing - an AT i10. It would have been splendid if someone paired the 1.3 FIAT engine with a competent autobox - any manufacturer (FIAT/TATA/MSIL) - and I would have seriously considered that option.
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Old 9th January 2011, 22:17   #33
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I for that matter learnt to drive in US on an AT, and when I came to India - I had the same requirements as yours. Due to parking space restrictions + driving ease in the city, I wanted a diesel AT hatch w/ ABS+ Airbags. There was/is none. So I chose the next best thing - an AT i10. It would have been splendid if someone paired the 1.3 FIAT engine with a competent autobox - any manufacturer (FIAT/TATA/MSIL) - and I would have seriously considered that option.
Couldn't agree with you more. Wonder what MUL and Tata are up to. They do not seem to have a finger on the market pulse. Imagine a Swift D or Vista D mated to an auto tranny. Would have just been what the doctor ordered. Today we onlt have petrol AT hatches and that too only two -- i10 and A-Star to choose from.
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Old 9th January 2011, 22:32   #34
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Was just curious to know that why is there a dearth of automatic Diesels in the sub10 lakhs bracket. Is it because of the price consciousness of the manufactures or dearth of technical capabilities?
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Old 9th January 2011, 23:34   #35
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Exclamation Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Any ideas on the NEW Automatic launches this year in sub 6 lakh category? I am looking for one and ready to wait for 6 - 8 months. Plz suggest.
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Old 9th January 2011, 23:35   #36
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

^^^
Mainly lack of demand perceived by the manufacturers, based on dismal sales numbers of AT cars earlier.
Ofcourse, today's Indian market is way different from years ago and I think manufacturers need to change their outlook.

Last edited by supremeBaleno : 9th January 2011 at 23:40.
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Old 9th January 2011, 23:54   #37
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Can an automatic transmission be retro-fitted? An accident AT vehicle of the same model could be the source.
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Old 10th January 2011, 07:31   #38
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

@ Live to Jive........
No. I don't think it is possible or feasible to change the gearbox from manual to automatic in an old car. Apart from the cost and technical issues involved, the knowledge of our so called expert mechanics will surely ruin the car.

@ Sidindica......

Lovely thread. Apart from the history of automatics in India, can you also elaborate on the technicalities of the auto boxes. What is a torque convertor and what it does?

As the technology of automatics has progressed, Market in west has already majorly shifted to automatics. The new 8, 7 and 6 speed boxes of BMW, Merc and Jaguar respectively are a joy to use and FE is at par or better than manual boxes. Sports mode and Pedal shifters take care of enthusiastic driving and Winter mode takes care of special driving requirements in snow or ice. Large / Luxury SUV's have special boxes which also take care of off roading requirement. Range Rover now uses a 8 speed ZF sourced Torque coNvertor auto box in their latest vehicles.

I first experienced automatic in our 525i in U.K., in 2008. The convenience was simply addictive with that 5 speeder. then I bought my Altis AT in 2009. This 4 speed box though quite smooth is nowhere in the class of BMW but still is a boon in chaotic traffic of NCR. It takes off some stress of driving and the car always stays in power band which should reduce engine wear and tear. So a FE loss of about 1 - 1.5 kmpl is a small price to pay. The ZF 6 speed box with torque convertor in Jaguar XF is simply superb and provides outstanding driving pleasure with optimum power in city, highway, hills or snow. I don't think we will ever go back to manual again.

Last edited by akj53 : 10th January 2011 at 07:34.
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Old 10th January 2011, 09:29   #39
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As the technology of automatics has progressed, Market in west has already majorly shifted to automatics.
Is this really true? The countries where automatics are a majority are USA & Japan. And in USA at least, it's not any recent shift - automatics are the majority for more than 20-25 years, I think.
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Old 10th January 2011, 09:42   #40
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

And it is not just us Indians who obsess about the extra cost of the AT version. I remember being driven around in a colleague's VW Jetta in Atlanta in 2005 and was surprised to see the car being MT. My American colleague mentioned that opting for an MT would reduce around 1500$ in the car price and since he does not think driving an MT was a big deal, he opted for MT.
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Old 10th January 2011, 12:22   #41
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

CHAPTER 4
Tip, tap, toe tronic.

The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile-porsche968periodphotostiptronicgearbox1280x960.jpg
Slavery isn't abolished.
Itís just a whole lot more sophisticated.
It matters is that you remember the only boundaries are the ones in your head.
Because while the world stops all those it can, it settles for the ones it cant.

Perhaps isn't it time to enjoy your freedom? Freedom from frequent clutch pedalling and frequent gear shifting?

At an affordable price point. And technologically advanced.
Welcome to the realm of the Hyundai Santro ZipPlus Automatic.
Powered by a 1086 cc, 63 ps epsilon-2 motor mated to a Japanese tech (you read that right) first in class 4 speed A/T matic gearbox, city driving became just a whole lotta fun. This unique 4 speed gearbox, had the usual P (parking), R (reverse), N (neutral), D (drive), 2 (mode for more power while overtaking) and L (low range for hill climbing) and was also equipped with a lighter, high performance torque converter to ensure a better balance between power and mileage.
Launched in mid 2002, this car, priced at 4.7 lakh, also came with first-in-class AT with standard Power steering, perfect for those garma garam lady drivers. City car that quite easily was the easiest car to drive. And to top it all, it was equipped with first for a hatchback optional ABS brakes to ensure that their imagination had a safety backdrop that's reassuring. Later in mid 2003, the model underwent a dramatic facelift and was christened the Santro Xing XG AT. 2005 saw another upgrade when the epsilon-2 motor was upgraded with alloy heads and a rollifinger camshaft and was christened as the eRLX AT. The santro was single handidly responsible to kickstart the AT small car segment and sold decently before it was retired in 2009.

Ever felt hungry on those Sunday midnights worrying about your Monday morning blues? Perhaps, isn't it time to go to your favorite 5 star restaurant for that favorite mughlai cuisine of yours? You come out in grandeur, in style. But wait..isn't it time to handover a handsome tip to that waiter who served you that delicious cuisine of yours? Well, how about a surprise waiting for you outside?

ITS A DOUBLE WHAMMY!!!


You were on the way to the hospital. And your better half just gave birth to those twins. Two from one. Perhaps, isn't it time to enjoy the joy of two boxes in one? Welcome to the lounge. The Hyundai Sonata 2.7 V6 H-matic Tip-tronic automatic. First car in India with a man-u-matic gearbox mated to the ruthless delta force of 2700 cc, 166 hp delta V6 motor. This unique 4 speed gearbox, in addition to having to the usual P (parking), R (reverse), N (neutral), D (drive), 2 (mode for more power while overtaking) and L (low range for hill climbing) also had the plus and minus sign on its left side, shaped in the form of "H" (so the H matic). Without the pressure of using a clutch, enjoy the joys of manual gear shifting by pushing the lever forward (plus) to upshift and downward (minus) to downshift. Perfect competition to that bland and dated accord AT, wasnt it? But people didn't quite get used to this unique gearbox and coupled with awful mileage figures of just 4-6 kmpl, this began to spell doom for the sonata brand.

Power to people

Zen. Its a spirit, a passion, a way of living. If you are not driving a zen, you are missing something. Freedom, freedom of enjoying the joys of life. A special car for special people. For the privileged. Presenting the ZEN AX easy drive. First car in India designed specifically for the handicapped. Available in 9 combinations depending upon the level of disabilities, this was a made to order car that was available across all maruti dealerships accross the country. To keep price competitive, AC was not standard and it was priced at a base rupees 4 lakh, a bit highish but nevertheless it kickstarted a new trend. The trend to enjoy freedom, freedom to drive. Equipped with a 993 cc 3 speed AT, it had custom hand controls or foot controls for a specific person's requirement. Sales were decent but the business case proved too costly for Maruti to continue production and it was stopped altogether when the zen was discontinued in 2005. Shame on you MSIL and GOI for not supporting his initiative.

Hey guys, did you know that a little unknown but interesting fact was that Maruti's bestseller, the alto was also test marketed for a brief period in AX trim? Yep, it was never mentioned in brochures nor was advertised, but MSIL did produce a few pieces of the alto automatic in 1.1 VX trim. No, it did not have a power steering but was equipped with features of top end VX with, yawn, again a 3 speed AT and 1061 cc engine from the wagon R. Priced at 4.8 lakhs, it was too high to digest for many people and this third attempt from MSIL was not sufficient to counter the santro and the plan was shelved altogether after a few units were sold. Lucky if you get to spot one.

In what was one of the busiest periods in the Indian automotive industry, the government's decision to scrap the homologation of imports costing over US $ 40,000 opened up a new segment in the country, that of luxury imports. German an British domination began and so did the one upmanship war over the AT GB tech. Almost all the cars launched were with AT boxes but the tiptronic mania continued in the luxury car market.
  • One of the first entrants was Porsche, which launched the cayenne through an import route by setting up a couple of importers. Powered by a variety of engines that consisted of 3.2 V6, 4.5 V8 and 4.5 V8 turbo, they were exclusively offered with a 6 speed tip tronic gearboxes.
  • Later the cayenne underwent a facelift in 2008 and the engines were upgraded to 3.6 V6 and 4.8 V8 respectively.
  • The legendery 911 followed suit with 3.2 and 3.6 litre boxer engines, again equipped with optional 6 speed tiptronic.
  • The boxster S and its coupe companion, the cayman S were also launched in late 2005 with the same tiptronic gearboxes. Power came from mid mounted 3.2 boxer 6 engine.
  • Bentley also entered the Indian market via an import route and started with its arnage, which was powered by an archaic 50 year old 6.75 litre V8 with a 4 speed automatic, later upgraded to a 6 speed tiptronic in 2008.
  • Following suit were Bentley'c continental series of cars, also the country's first 12 cylinder imports.
  • The Continental GT coupe, Continental flying spur sedan and continental GTC convertible were powered by a 6.0 litre W12 motor with 552 ps for base, and 600 PS for the speed versions, which were introduced later in the market. All cars were powered by exclusive 6 speed tip tronic gearboxes with paddle shifters.
  • Companion Audi entered the Indian market in late 2004 with the country's first 8 cylinder import luxury sedan, the A8 limousine.
  • Offered in the launch was a 4.2 V8 with 6 speed tip tronic and a 3.0 V6 TDI with the same 'box.
  • Following the suit was the A6 3.0 petrol and 3.0 TDI powered by the same gearboxes.
Tip tronic below a million rupees.
Ever heard of invecs-II gearbox? If not, then don't be surprised. Mitsubishi launched the lancer with a bigger 1.8 litre motor powered by a 4 speed tiptronic gearbox and was the country's first car below 10 lakh rupees to sport this feature. Launched in base and LE versions, and later renamed to XL, LE and SFX models, this 1834 cc gem of an engine produced 120 HP and gave the lancer better acceleration and was perceived to be the OHC's natural successor. But again, poor marketing, modern engine on an ancient chassis and failure with emissions compliance of euro 3 norms killed this product even before it was beginning to be appreciated. Simply atrocious move by HM.

End of the mania.
Coming back to convectional AT boxes, 2003 was one of the busiest years as many AT matic cars were launched. 2003 was the year of Honda's comeback.
  • The redesigned 7th generation accord was launched with a 2.4 I-4 and 3.0 V6 (later added), powered by a modern 5 speed AT box. This marked the end of the sonata and the accord continued to dominate the upper D segment, with the AT box version selling equally well.
  • The first CUV, the Honda CR-V was launched as an import with a 2.0 I-vtec I-4 motor, again only with an 5 speed automatic gearbox. Surprisingly, it was a runaway success and later after 18 months, the CR-V was given a facelift and an upgraded 2.4 I-vtec from the accord plus a manual gearbox option. Still, the automatic sold more than the manual.
  • The opel astra replacing US badged Korean sedan, the Chevrolet optra was also launched in LS AT and LT AT trims. Powered by 1799 cc, holden sourced engine with 115 ps, it was well priced and yes, well received in the market also.
The year saw the official launch of a legend=the toyota corolla. From launch itself, a 4 speed AT was launched in conjunction with a 1794 cc 125 hp VVT-i engine. Not surprisingly, it became the bestseller in its segment.

Fuel sipping automatic
  • Ever wanted the convinience of a torquey diesel motor with a high fuel efficiency mated to a convinient AT gearbox? Well, skoda has an answer for you. Presenting the Skoda octavia TDI 1.9 AT with a 4 speed "fuzzy logic" gearbox. High performance rpm-optimised torque converter for smooth shifts and available in ambiente and elegance trim, it was launched at a competitive price band with a 1896 cc, 105 hp TDI motor.
  • 2003 also saw the launch of a redesigned W211 E CLASS sedans from Mercedes Benz with carryover engines at initial stage, that is the E 240 V6 and the E 220 CDI motor mated to a convectional 5 speed AT with touchshift.
  • The lemonatic C class was also upgraded with a pair of brand new motors-the dramatically improved 1.8 KOMPRESSOR (supercharged petrol-first in country car) with 158 hp and 143 hp 2.2 CDI (C 220 CDI) engines, the later carried over from the E 220 CDI.
Well, life of a human being is an continuous evolution of variables experienced in the past and an positive, consistent and a bright outlook in the future.

Perhaps, so does the evolution in AT matic gearbox.
Call it a continuous evolution.
Or call it a revolution.
Isn't it always better to have a continuous evolution of a revolution?

Well, perhaps, the best solution for you all?
Relax, have a well deserved lunch break after experiancing the monday morning blues and come back soon for !xobile's next chapter of continuous evolution, A/T matically.



Last edited by sidindica : 10th January 2011 at 12:23.
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Old 10th January 2011, 13:07   #42
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Sidindica, great thread! But I hear too much tech jargon here. Tiptronic, DSG, H-matic, CVT, pedal shift. Would be better if you can throw some light on these, for dummies like me. Why so many types?

Digressing here, is it true that CVT is not a good type of AT? Is it why Civic, ACCORD and even ANHC has conventional 4/5-speed ATs? Also, when I asked some CVT City owners about performance, they dodged the question.
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Old 10th January 2011, 13:34   #43
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

Wonderful thread on Automatics in India.

I think you can mention a note, on why AT was discontinued in Santro Xing despite a good seller, as, Hyundai started promoting AT in i10.

Wondering why Skoda AT is called as Fuel Sipping Automatic ? Does it has very low FE when compared to Manual ?
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Old 10th January 2011, 14:20   #44
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

^^^ On the contrary, I think sidindica means that the Skodas have better FE - keyword being "sipping", not guzzling.
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Old 10th January 2011, 18:21   #45
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Default Re: The story of automatic evolution. Written A/T matically by !xobile

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Originally Posted by rgedupudi View Post
IMO the lack of popularity for A/T is also because of the mileage obsession that we have in our country (love those "Kitna deta hai" ads).
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Originally Posted by rgedupudi View Post
Why this bias when it comes to cars?
Not so. Nearly all cars costing over 20 lakhs are sold in AT, while the % of AT : MT in the C+ segment (Altis, Civic etc.) is going increasingly in favour of the slushbox.

However, when it comes to hatchbacks, we have to understand that the market is incredibly price sensitive. And its just that buyers care more about a better car / more features than the Automatic transmission. The difference between MT <-> AT variants of hatchbacks is 75 - 100K. That's about 20% of the car's price...a 20% which could give that customer a larger hatchback or one with more features.

Of course, it doesn't help that cars like the i10 AT have earned a reputation for poor FE. A big no-no for the hatchback customer.

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Originally Posted by pgsagar View Post
Imagine a Swift D or Vista D mated to an auto tranny.
You speak my language : Link to thread (The case for an Automatic Indica!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy View Post
And in USA at least, it's not any recent shift - automatics are the majority for more than 20-25 years, I think.
More of a cultural thing in the States. So much so that few people (less than 1%) even know how to drive an MT.
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