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Old 7th February 2020, 12:05   #1
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Default Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

  • As much as 17.3% of all passenger vehicles sold in the Indian market last year had automatic transmissions, show industry estimates. In 2011, that share was a mere 1.4%.
  • At Maruti Suzuki, the country’s top carmaker, automatic variants account for nearly a quarter of the Celerio, S-Presso, Ciaz and XL6 sales. This increases to 30% in case of the Ignis.
  • Sales of automatic variants increased to 13.9% of the total volumes in 2019 from 3.9% in 2014 for Hyundai Motor India. Marketing and sales director Tarun Garg said sales of AT vehicles had been increasing, not just for the local unit of the Korean company but for the entire industry. “It goes on to show that the Indian customer is now looking for a more convenient and comfortable driving experience,” he told ET.
  • Automated manual transmission (AMT) contributes almost 14% of the total passenger vehicle sales at Tata Motors, Vivek Srivatsa, the of head marketing at its passenger vehicle business unit, said. “With current traffic situations and improvement in technology that gives better driving pleasure and better mileage, there will be increase in the acceptability of AT vehicles going forward,” he added.
  • At Honda Cars India, automatic transmission accounts for a quarter of sales, up from 9% in 2014. The share is higher in bigger cars — 40% for the Honda City and 30% for the Amaze.
  • Up to 35% of sales of Kia Seltos come from automatic variants.
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With congestion increasing and cities expanding, rides are getting longer, and this is partly driving the preference for automatic transmission, Maruti Suzuki executive director (sales and marketing) Shashank Srivastava said. “Earlier, price retention was an issue. However, small cars with automatic transmission no longer come at a huge price. This is propelling buyers of AT,” he said.

VG Ramakrishnan, the managing partner at consultancy firm Avanteum Partners, said: “Introduction of automated manual transmission in the entry segment at a premium of around Rs 30,000 over manual transmission versions happened at a time when disposable income of consumers was on a rise (and) traffic congestion started becoming more severe. This brought in high volumes and helped conserve costs.”

Large sports utility vehicles and sedans use more expensive automatic transmission technologies like CVT, and these vehicles come at a premium of Rs 1-1.2 lakh over the variants with manual transmission. Here too, despite the higher price, there is higher acceptance among consumers.

The sharp increase in demand for automatic transmission made new entrant Kia Motors offer the technology across multiple price points. Kia Motors India head for marketing & sales Manohar Bhat said AT variants had accounted for about a third of sales for its Kia Seltos SUV in the past six months.
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Old 7th February 2020, 13:21   #2
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

I'm sure it's going to be at least 50-60% in the coming decade. People have figured out rightly that an automatic transmission is cheaper than a knee replacement surgery. I believe that the figures would've remained rather same until 2014 and then picked up pace from there; after the introduction of the AMT. Now many of you might disagree with me, just because you hate AMTs, but I have to say that it was truly a game-changer. True, it could never satisfy an enthusiast. But for the masses, it was cheap, just as efficient as a manual and much more convenient. The perfect combo every Indian loves. I would say it was the perfect stepping stone. Now that they've felt the convenience, they would be willing to shell out more for a better transmission in their next purchase. Considering the fact that certain AMTs command a premium of around 70k, I don't think it won't create a that big of a sticker shock anymore.

We got our first automatic, an Ignis Zeta Petrol AMT in Feb 2017, replacing our beloved 2010 Ritz VXi. Ignis being the only one that met our specific requirements - a petrol automatic, smaller than Ritz with a good engine and relatively good safety features at a decent price. I had driven Torque converters, CVTs and DSGs before the purchase and to be honest, had such low expectations from it. I didn't even go for a test drive because I knew it wouldn't wow me. But within the first couple of days, I figured out it's secret and since then it had been quite good. Before the purchase, I expected it to be driven quite a lot in manual mode. But to date, it have done close to 18k km, 99.9% of which would've been done in auto mode. It did it's job so well that I recommended my cousin and my friend to go for AMT, instead of manual, when they were upgrading their cars.

Just to be clear, my preference when it comes to automatics is going to align with most of your's interests. Dual clutch> Torque converter> CVT> AMT. Although I still love three pedals, our traffic conditions have become so bad that it is now pointless to keep a manual to have fun during 10% of your drives while suffering the rest of times. And the figures show that most people agree with this. While I don't think Manual Transmission is going to be an endangered species in India, like here in the US any time soon, it will certainly decline. Especially with the advent of EVs. So if you're lucky enough to find open roads during most of your travels, hold on to your manuals. And if you're like the FRIENDS cast who are still stuck in second gear, do your legs a favor and get an automatic. Peace.
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Old 7th February 2020, 13:46   #3
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by Keeleri_Achu View Post
But within the first couple of days, I figured out it's secret and since then it had been quite good.
If you don't mind me asking, whats the secret?
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Old 7th February 2020, 13:52   #4
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

I suppose the average speed in cities has reduced by the same percentage and there has been a corresponding increase in traffic jams as well. Just because people don't know how to feather the throttle and be in the correct gear to get the correct drive out of any situation and use the clutch minimally, they are all switching over to automatics which in my opinion slows traffic down since they are almost guaranteed to never be in the right gear when it matters most for example when moving away from a signal or when moving forward after the car in front has just finished slowing down and is now picking up the pace. Automatics and the rise in Olas and Ubers are what I blame for our traffic jams
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Old 7th February 2020, 13:57   #5
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by Driving80kph View Post
If you don't mind me asking, whats the secret?
AMTs work much better when you drive it sedately compared to when you floor it. Like the name suggests, for the most part, it's a manual. So when you feel that it's the perfect time to shift up, just let off the throttle, just like you would do in a manual, and the AMT will upshift. It can mask the head nod effect to a great extent. If you keep your foot all the time on the accelerator like you would on any other automatic, you would feel the head nod, even in the best tuned AMTs. Once you get the hang of it, it's not a pain at all.
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Old 7th February 2020, 14:13   #6
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by Keeleri_Achu View Post
We got our first automatic, an Ignis Zeta Petrol AMT in Feb 2017, replacing our beloved 2010 Ritz VXi. Ignis being the only one that met our specific requirements - a petrol automatic, smaller than Ritz with a good engine and relatively good safety features at a decent price.
Agree with your comments and yes we bought our first automatic which was again a Ignis Delta AMT in June 2017 and happy with the experience so far. The major reason for us to tilt towards it was the fact that this car was going to be used by my wife.

But post buying the car, I ended up using it more for almost a year and have been happy with the AMT for what it costed. Currently with about 15,800 kms on the ODO, its going well and I am happy we went with an Automatic.

I think if companies reduce the premium that they currently charge for an Automatic the adoption will increase further and I think the market will slowly head in this direction over the next few years.
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Old 7th February 2020, 14:44   #7
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeleri_Achu View Post
AMTs work much better when you drive it sedately compared to when you floor it. Like the name suggests, for the most part, it's a manual. So when you feel that it's the perfect time to shift up, just let off the throttle, just like you would do in a manual, and the AMT will upshift. It can mask the head nod effect to a great extent. If you keep your foot all the time on the accelerator like you would on any other automatic, you would feel the head nod, even in the best tuned AMTs. Once you get the hang of it, it's not a pain at all.

Perfectly explained. The "head nod" would be the main reason people don't like the AMT. Driving like a manual with your right foot and an automatic with your left hand/foot would mitigate many issues.

Last edited by pnredkar : 7th February 2020 at 14:45. Reason: Typos ...
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Old 8th February 2020, 08:13   #8
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by wheelguy View Post
As much as 17.3% of all passenger vehicles sold in the Indian market last year had automatic transmissions, show industry estimates. In 2011, that share was a mere 1.4%.
Quite an interesting statistic - thanks a ton for sharing! This number will easily climb to 1/3rd of the market in a handful of years. ATs are perfect for our kind of dense-traffic environments. Manufacturers should now start offering ATs in all variants; in many models, you don't see the option either on the lower or higher trims.

As much as I dislike AMTs, there is no doubt that it is a suitable technology for India due to its cost & efficiency. Hat's off to Maruti for popularising it.

Even BHPians have started moving to Automatics (related poll). I was once a diehard "MT only" personality, yet have moved to being an "MT or AT depending on the car" guy. Today's high-end ATs are just too damn good (e.g. VW's DSG). When I'm driving the ZF 8-speed, I don't miss an MT at all.

Supercar makers too (e.g. Ferrari) have moved to automatics. That says a hell of a lot!
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Old 8th February 2020, 08:33   #9
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

Statistically, that is progress from 1 in 70 new cars to 1 in 6 new cars. (Although the 1 in 17 is deceptive as the numbers reflect the whole country, not limited to urban areas)

The AMTs have also paved way for a future market. All of today's AMT buyers didn't have the pay a huge premium and get reasonable FE. When they upgrade, they'll be forced to buy more expensive cars with lesser FE.
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Old 8th February 2020, 09:46   #10
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

And yet, most manufacturers do not offer AT option on base models and with diesel engines. Usually, AT is offered on mid OR (not 'and') top variant. I don't know why manufacturers spend crores on developing a product, but not look at what the consumer actually wants.

Kia Seltos (CVT/TC/DCT on petrol/diesel) has AT option at different price points, but I don't think they have base automatic models.

Last edited by SmartCat : 8th February 2020 at 10:06.
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Old 8th February 2020, 17:07   #11
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

It is only a matter of time that the manufacturers start coming out with automatics in base model. It will only take an intelligent one to grab that segment and it will open the flood gates. I wish Tata take that bold step. Right now everyone is happy milking the customer, hope they wake up to reality sooner.
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:01   #12
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by Keeleri_Achu View Post
AMTs work much better when you drive it sedately compared to when you floor it. Like the name suggests, for the most part, it's a manual. So when you feel that it's the perfect time to shift up, just let off the throttle, just like you would do in a manual, and the AMT will upshift. It can mask the head nod effect to a great extent. If you keep your foot all the time on the accelerator like you would on any other automatic, you would feel the head nod, even in the best tuned AMTs. Once you get the hang of it, it's not a pain at all.
Exactly! I had to re-teach my dad's driver how to use our Ignis's gearbox as he was mashing down the pedal and then the car would kickdown two gears, hit the redline and violently jump forward. He even went as far as telling my dad the car's transmission was faulty, that too on a brand new car that had done like 100 kms . Keep a gentle right foot and your passengers will have a smooth drive and you'll get an awesome mileage. Maximum we got on the Ignis on a highway drive was 22 kmpl!

@Keeleri_Achu, nice avatar!
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:11   #13
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

Even though there were sporadic automatic version of few cars, I feel it was MSIL who spearheaded the introduction of automatics (even though an AMT). And when the largest manufacturer does something, others are bound to follow suit. They played their cards very intelligently, constantly harping on high FE (due to AMT) along with the Auto transmission which broke through one of the most vital mental barrier of the populace.
It's like Apple 'reinventing' the touchscreen with the 1st iPhone even though there were Palm and Windows based touchscreens...t literally opened the floodgates.

We too got the Alto AMT as our 2nd car as it made most sense for Bangalore traffic considering both me and my wife will be driving it. Best part is, it's a totally fun car to drive too. When waiting at the head of a red-light, switch to manual and sprint away
Now after 4 years with the AMT, we've unanimously decided that whenever we replace our Swift, it's going to be an automatic and nothing else.
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:13   #14
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

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Originally Posted by The Rationalist View Post
It is only a matter of time that the manufacturers start coming out with automatics in base model. It will only take an intelligent one to grab that segment and it will open the flood gates. I wish Tata take that bold step. Right now everyone is happy milking the customer, hope they wake up to reality sooner.
Ah...Toyota Yaris? We all know how that went.
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Old 10th February 2020, 11:16   #15
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Default Re: Sales of automatics grew from 1.4% in 2011 to 17.3% in 2019

I like automatics but do have a slight grudge against AMTs.

I used to drive a Wagon-R AMT. It was very comfortable to drive in the city and level roads ( I drive with a light foot). Problem was on frequent stop-starts on slopes. I used to brake, shift to N from D (to prevent clutch burnout) and apply hand brake. To move again, used to shift to D, press accelerator and release hand-brake. The creep function was useful only on the gentlest of slopes.

One month, had to do a lot of travel to high ranges. Was caught in 2 hour traffic blocks on inclines on more than one occasion, where the vehicles would move for a few feet and stop . The braking, shifting to N, handbrake, shifting to D, accelerator, handbrake release process every 15 seconds was not an experience I enjoyed. Frankly, the same conditions used to be more tolerable in my previous car ( A Vista Quadrajet). On coming back from the trip sold the Wagon-R and took a Grand I10 automatic.

Now I don't have to apply handbrake except on steep inclines. On shifting to D and releasing the brake pedal the car has enough torque not to roll back.
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