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Old 2nd March 2019, 23:33   #1
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Default The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)

It has been more than 3 years since the last guide on Automatics was written. (Automatics under 10L, Automatics under 17L). A lot has happened between then and now. Automatics are more popular than ever and choices have drastically increased. This edition attempts to look at what has changed in the last three years and the current landscape of automatics in India.

A high level summary of what has changed.
  • Choices: The number of models and variants available with an Automatic Transmission has drastically increased. Even to the extent that the Toyota Yaris has an AT option in each of its variants.
  • Diesel Automatics: 3 years back there were hardly any diesel automatics in the mass segment. This has changed and now we have a number of options including a diesel CVT in the Amaze.
  • AMT's have become better: ALthough the trend of AMT's being the choice of transmission have increased, more recent AMTs are much more refined and perform better. The AMT in the new Santro is a great example.
  • Safety Features: Until recently, AT's were restricted in variants which in turn meant compromising on safety features. That is no longer necessary.
  • Better Transmissions: Although the technologies have not changed, there is a better mapping to what is needed for India. As mentioned above, AMT's are more refined now, 4 speed AT's are mostly on the way out. AT's like the Ford DCT have been replaced by more traditional and reliable TC based gear boxes.

In addition to the above guides and related threads, two interesting threads that reflect the changing mindset:
  • One that started way back in 2006 that had the tone- Automatics in India. Really!! (Link)
  • Fast Forward to GTO's Poll Thread in 2017 (Link). Only 15% of respondents chose the 'Only MT' option. 37% were in the AT bandwagon and 47% were ok to consider an AT depending on the car.

Interested only in the detailed list of options available today? Please jump to this post

The Measure of Increasing Popularity:

The below chart is a simple but effective metric that shows the increase in the popularity and options available. Interestingly even in 2015 there were around 88 models on sale in India and although the models have changed to some extent, the total number surprisingly remains the same. In 2015 ~49% of the models on sale in India had an AT option. Today that number is ~70%. . It is also known that some of the new launches will get an AT option sooner than later. So this number is soon expected to go up.

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-totalmodelsvsat.png


Below are some more comparisons to the 2015 edition to give an idea on some of the points mentioned above. If one looks beyond the models and drill down to the number of variants available the increase is much more drastic.

A simple look at the number of Automatic Variants available today as compared to the 2015 data. As you can see below, the number has grown 2.5 times. That is a huge increase in the span of 3 years.

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So, which manufacturers have embraced India's increasing love for Automatics?

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-chart2.png

Few observations stand out
  • Almost all manufacturers have had a good increase in the number of AT models/variants. The only Manufacturers seeing a decline is GM which of course has left India.
  • The outlier is Fiat (excluding Jeep). They did not have an Automatic in the line up in 2015 and they do not now.
  • The stand out is Maruti. Another good example of how India's favorite manufacturer knows the pulse of the nation. From a mere 12 variants in 2015 to 37 variants- A three fold increase.


Break down of the Models available in AT variants and the increase/decrease compared to 2015 data.

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Last edited by Rajeevraj : 12th March 2019 at 19:27.
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Old 2nd March 2019, 23:40   #2
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Default re: The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)

A quick look at the safety features provided. For simplicity sake, safety features is defined as at least 1 Airbag.

Safety Features availability



The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-safetymetric.png

Although the safety feature availability was pretty good even back in 2015, the important point to note is that although number of variants have gone up 2.5 times, the number of variants without any safety features have actually gone down by 3. As you can see below, the only models without any safety features are the Nano and the E2O and E-Verito EV's. The Redi-Go is there in the list but does come with ABS.

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Considering the Nano is almost discontinued and the current EV's are niche products, it would be safe to say that for all practical purposes, if you buy an AT today, it would have atleast 1 Airbag and ABS and in a majority of cases 2 Airbags.

Gearbox Types


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Looking at the Gear Box spread for models under 10L- Ex-showroom

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-atgbtype10l.png

As mentioned in the intro, AMT gearboxes have become hugely popular in India. The Torque Converter Gearbox still retains a slender lead overall, but would be safe to say that India will be an AMT Automatic country. The chart for spread for models below 10L show this clearly. The DSG, DDCT, DCT are all Dual Clutches, just represented separately depending on how the manufacturer has named it. DDCT is the Jeep Dual Clutch Variant. Volkswagen continue to soldier on with the dodgy DSG DQ200 but have also brought in newer DSGs. Ford dropped the DCT from both the Ecosport and Aspire and as per reports it will be dropped from the Figo as part of the facelift. CVT's continue to be popular for their smoothness, especially in the city.

Overall in summary: AMT's rule and will continue to do so.

Note: The Ford Figo is updated with a TC gearbox in the face-lift. With this change, the Ford DCT no longer exists in India. Have not updated the tables yet as the formal launch has not been done yet at the time of writing.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 12th March 2019 at 19:24.
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Old 8th March 2019, 17:58   #3
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Detailed List of all Options currently Available


The thread says comprehensive guide, so if you came in here looking for a detailed list and not just summary of various metrics, this post gives you just that. From the Tata Nano all the way to the Skoda Kodiaq. Spanning a price range from 3.5 Lakhs to 35 Lakhs. If you are looking to buy an AT car, hope this will give that 'at-a glace' look.

Notes:
  • Previous edition attempted to break into different groups based on price. This time it is one consolidated list. One learning from various discussions is that AT buyers are more flexible to go up and down a price chain.
  • The list covers all vehicles that come in our monthly sales charts. Premium Segment cars are not included here.
  • Prices are Ex-Showroom Delhi taken from Online sites. May differ depending on when this thread is read. So the prices should be taken as indicative.
  • There may be some inconsistencies with regard to the power/torque numbers. Have cross checked as much as possible. I believe some discrepancies may still exist.
  • Please click on the image to view a larger more readable version.
  • As it is a long list(something that I did not really comprehend when I set out to make it ), apologies if any errors have crept in.



The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic11.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic2.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic3.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic4.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic5.png

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The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic9.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic10.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-detailedpic12.png

Note: The Ford Figo is updated with a TC gearbox in the face-lift. With this change, the Ford DCT no longer exists in India. Have not updated the tables yet as the formal launch has not been done yet at the time of writing. Hence the actual power/torque/price numbers are not available yet.

The above details can be viewed in a spreadsheet form in the below link.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

Last edited by Aditya : 21st March 2019 at 22:18. Reason: As requested
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Old 8th March 2019, 19:10   #4
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The Pricing Analysis


We always now talk about how pricing has shot through the roof for cars in general. Since I had captured the price data from 2015 also, thought it would be interesting to see how the prices have changed from then to now. Although this would cover the AT variants only, it would be safe to assume that the same trend can be extrapolated to the Manual Transmission cars also.

Note: This obviously only covers models that have been available from the 2015 list.

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Pricing Spread-2019 Data


Below chart indicates price ranges and number of variants available in the range (Histogram). As the chart indicates, under a price range of ~8-9Lakh, there are 50+ variants, up the budget to ~13L, you get a choice of 100+ variants. An important metric that shows how AT's have really come into the mass market.

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-histo.png

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 8th March 2019 at 20:47.
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Old 8th March 2019, 21:03   #5
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So which AT to buy?


From the data so far, it is clear that the number of options are huge, most fll within the mass market range <15L OTR. You get a number of transmission technologies. Safety features thankfully are no longer the deciding factors and with the huge number of AMT's Fuel Efficiency and premium over the MT variants are also no longer show stoppers.

The below is by no means a recommendation, more an Eye-Chart to help guide on which part of the detailed list of options one needs to focus on.

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-eyechart1.png

The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)-eyechart2.png

The Electric Vehicle Twist

Electric Cars are obviously automatic. Our availability of Electric Options has been pretty dismal with only the E2O and E-Verito even available as options. We are still waiting for that break-out model that will make EV's attractive and a serious contender for a purchase. 2019 maybe the year when EV's start to come into the main stream and also influences the Automatic Landscape. From that perspective which are these EV's which are expected.

Maruti: Wagon R -EV: Probably expected more in 2020, but a lot of testing is happening (Related Thread). While it does not seem like the break out product that we need, the fact that Maruti is doing it is big. As we saw with the AMTs, when Maruti starts the push on something, it has the real potential to take off.

Mahindra KUV100: Mahindra has always had the focus on EV's and that is expected to continue. There are rumors of a Kuv100 EV and Mahindra is investing heavily on its EV plans. Test cars have been spied since 2017 end. (Related Thread)

Nissan Leaf: One of the most popular EV's in the world, has been spotted testing and has been reliably confirmed that it is coming to India in 2019. Probably expensive, but will be the first EV with an acceptable range. (Related Thread)

Hyundai Kona: Another EV that has been spied testing in India. Coming from Hyundai, has the potential to wake up the market. (Related Thread)

Tata Altroz: Although some way away, the fact that Tata showcased an EV version of the Altroz at Geneva recently indicates that there is a lot of effort happening in the EV direction. (Related Thread)

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 10th March 2019 at 22:27.
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Old 11th March 2019, 22:27   #6
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The Conclusion


So, that was probably an overdose of numbers and statistics. if you have just skipped to the end, let me just summarize some key points and what we can expect in the future.

Summary:
  • Automatics are on the fast track. 177 variants from 88 models on sale today. 70% of models on sale have an AT variant.
  • AMT's rule the roost. Especially in the below 10 Lakh segment. The Torque Converters still at the top when considering all segments, but just a matter of maybe days or couple of months before that changes.
  • The AMT popularity may not be a happy sign for the enthusiasts, having said that, there is a concentrated effort to make the AMT's better. AMT's have also greatly taken away the price and mileage debate.
  • Maruti may have started a little late, but now firmly control the AT narrative in the mass market. Clear on the strategy that AMT's are the way to go.
  • Safety features are becoming standard. Gone are the days where you needed to compromise on safety to get an AT. You still probably do not get a variant that you may wish for (Example a 6 Airbag variant) in some cases, but mostly will be covered.
  • Prices have gone up across the board. Not an AT specific trend, but pretty obvious with these numbers.
  • Electric cars are being talked about more. Still niche, but closer to being the next break out technology. Why is it relevant here? Because EV's are Automatic.

What to expect:
  • More AT models and/or variants will continue to launch. There is already a pipeline of models like the new Figo, Harrier, Marazzo, Buzzard which can/will get an AT.
  • We will potentially soon see an AT equivalent for every manual variant especially in the mass market. The Toyota Yaris has already started this trend. Several other models are not very far away.
  • We will start to see more AT variants as compared to manual. A trend already common in higher/premium segments. The newly launched Civic does not come in a Manual Petrol option.
  • The kind of congestion seen in most of our cities will force people towards AT's even if they are not too keen.

A parting thought. One area where the AT has not made in-roads is the taxi market, especially intra-city even in big metros. It is quite rare to see an AT in the cab space. Even in the newer cars. Interestingly Suzuki and Toyota now have a partnership in place to share models(Baleno, Brezza, Corolla). They are in a good position to expand their further and position something that meets the needs of the taxi market. Maybe an Etios version with one of Marutis AMTs. With the cab business booming and traffic congestion rapidly increasing, a good reliable AT solution for cabs, I believe will be a game changer in the taxi market.

If you have reached this far, thank you for reading. Comments and Suggestions welcome.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 12th March 2019 at 18:28.
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Old 12th March 2019, 22:29   #7
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Mod's note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to The Indian Car Scene. Thanks for sharing !
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Old 12th March 2019, 22:59   #8
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Thanks for Sharing, a very informative thread.
The price percentage change for some of the models are shocking. It is justified if a model became pricey as they added new features like safety and other equipment.
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Old 12th March 2019, 23:35   #9
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Great analysis and details on the latest scenario w.r.t AT options available in the mass market segment. Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
A parting thought. One area where the AT has not made in-roads is the taxi market, especially intra-city even in big metros. It is quite rare to see an AT in the cab space. Even in the newer cars. Interestingly Suzuki and Toyota now have a partnership in place to share models(Baleno, Brezza, Corolla). They are in a good position to expand their further and position something that meets the needs of the taxi market. Maybe an Etios version with one of Marutis AMTs. With the cab business booming and traffic congestion rapidly increasing, a good reliable AT solution for cabs, I believe will be a game changer in the taxi market.
Taxi market is price sensitive (obviously) and hence the drivers/operators do not pick the AT variant. For any model:

1) AT options is not available in the base or lower (second to base) variants and those are what are picked by those guys mainly.
2) Cabs are either Petrol+CNG or Diesel. In case of the former, factory built ATs are not available (unless I missed some information in this thread). In case of Diesels, the price different between AT and MT of the same variant is considerable in terms of figures. Hence the purchaser will try to minimize his/her emi and keep up with the discomfort of driving the MT, if the need be.

Only when the price difference becomes NILL between MT and AT options of a particular car which is a hit in the Taxi market, you will see the AT cabs. Now this is unlikely to happen soon. Alternatively, if the manufacturer who is targeting the Taxi market with specific models (such as Maruti with Dzire and Hyundai with Xcent) decides to launch a AT only model, we can see those cabs on the roads

Last edited by sunilch : 12th March 2019 at 23:38.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:50   #10
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Very insightful post! Thanks for sharing. While ATs have gained popularity in metros and Tier1 cities due to traffic congestion, smaller cities and towns are yet to embrace them wholeheartedly. I live in a Tier2 city and I can already see the traffic getting worse by the day, I shudder to think what the situation would be in another 5 years. That's the exact reason my first and foremost criteria for a new car was an AT when I bought the EcoSport AT last year. But I felt like a minority when I made that decision, as most new cars bought by people around me are MTs. Friends and colleagues were surprised to see that I bought the AT and many were even seeing one for the first time and getting fascinated with the gear lever and absent clutch!

Also, another point I noticed was that regular people and even the car mechanics have a very negative outlook towards ATs. Many car buyers I've seen feel driving an AT is not macho enough, they equate AT cars to scooty and look down on it as something inferior. Many have told me that they like to have more control over the car's gear changes, which is fair. But I've surely had to explain my choice to buy the AT countless times.

Others feel that ATs have high maintenance and repair costs, which may or may not be true, other BHPians can chime in on this. I am inclined to think that with advent of technology, ATs must have become better over time, hence wouldn't be that high maintenance as they once were. Ofcourse, in case of a breakdown, ATs can't be towed like a regular MT.

Surprisingly, I have seen this AT scepticism from sales and service advisors of dealerships in smaller towns! Recently a middle-aged gentleman in my hometown bought the new Santro. He was keen on the AT as he has learnt driving recently. But the Hyundai dealership itself discouraged him citing high maintenance and problems.

I firmly believe that in Indian traffic and road conditions, regular joes should buy an AT only. It'll suffice most of the city driving and occasional highway trips. MTs are better left to enthusiasts and thrill seekers, no offence meant to either groups!
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Detailed List of all Options currently Available

Thanks for this wonderful thread on ATs.

Would it be possible to upload the spreadsheet of the entire list? It is a bit cumbersome reading the info through images.
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Old 14th March 2019, 10:20   #12
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What a thread! Rating 5 stars. But India is still a MT-dominated country and will stay so for at least some time. An annoying thing is that manufacturers have STILL not launched “the” diesel AT below 10 lakhs.

Honda Amaze with its diesel CVT has pulled off a master stroke. But the car feels rather cheap itself (door pads, gear shifter, infotainment system of lower variants, glovebox lid, missing essentials). Most of the frills are available on on the top end. And guess what? Honda doesn’t provide the CVT in the top end. It still feels rather compromising.
The Swift and Dzire diesel AMTs are too damn jerky. I hope other manufacturers will jump on to this bandwagon soon. We desperately need this coming!
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Old 14th March 2019, 11:18   #13
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Almost went for an AT because of Bangalore traffic when we switched cars late last year. What stopped us and made us go for a manual instead:

*The couple of Hyundai and Maruti ATs we had driven seemed terribly 'laggy'.
*The Swift petrol MT was good fun!
*Was not sure about the long-term reliability of Maruti's ATs.
*(this may be a silly one) Didn't want to forget 'how' to drive an MT! Keep hearing stories of people in the US who cannot drive an MT because they have been so used to ATs.

Anyway I think the future's electric, so I guess the next switch will be to an EV.
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:43   #14
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Very informative thread

I was also looking for comparison among AT gearboxes. More specifically, how to choose between DCT, TC, DSG and CVT and what different purposes they serve?
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Old 14th March 2019, 12:43   #15
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Default Re: The Comprehensive Guide to Automatic Cars (2019 edition)

Great thread – informative and give a true picture on the recent shift/affinity towards AT!
A couple of more points:
  • The mass-market maybe on a transition phase when it comes to AT, but the luxury segments have already moved there – effectively no MT options from the likes of big 3 Germans, JLR, and Volvo.
  • Mass-manufacturers still project AT as an price-impacting aspect; end result – AT is not available on the top variant with all the bells and whistles.
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