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Old 21st February 2021, 22:41   #1
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Default Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

It's no surprise that cars equipped with automatic transmissions are becoming more and more popular in India. The stress-free convenience they offer in bumper to bumper city traffic is unparalleled for most drivers. However, in this thread we're going to explore why automatic transmissions are a sensible purchase even for car owners who are chauffeur-driven.

Here are a few points I could think of. BHPians, please add to the list:

Smoother
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This is the obvious one, isn't it? Automatic transmissions are much smoother than manuals and you're way less likely to feel a jerk during a gearshift. Passenger comfort benefits from this greatly. Note that this is not applicable to AMTs, as they are just electronically actuated manual transmissions and therefore the shifts can be quite jerky.

Convenience for the times you / your spouse drive the car yourselves
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Every chauffeur gets a day off, and when you need to make an outing on that day, driving shouldn't be a dreaded activity.

No engine abuse by lugging, or revving too high
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Regardless of the engine mode chosen, automatic transmissions do not let the engine revs drop below a certain point. At the same time, ATs usually shift up well before the redline too. This keeps your engine in the healthiest and safest RPM range, minimizing wear & tear.

No clutch pedal riding
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Since there is no clutch pedal, there is no need to worry about the commonly encountered bad driving habit of riding the clutch. Your chauffeur can ride that dead pedal into the sunset - not a problem!

More number of gears to play with
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Many auto-boxes nowadays come with 9 or even 10 gears (eg. Ford Endeavour). It might sound excessive, but a higher number of gears allows manufacturers to use smaller engines, improving overall efficiency.

You are always in the right gear
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It is highly likely that the TCU will choose the right gear for the driving condition more often than the average driver will.

Better fuel efficiency
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Remember back in the day when ATs had the stigma of lower fuel efficiency? Nowadays, automatic transmissions can be more fuel efficient than manual transmissions in real world scenarios, since they are tuned for efficiency and optimal up-shifts.

Your chauffeur will be less stressed
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Cars equipped with automatic transmissions are less physically taxing to drive than those equipped with manual transmissions, especially for those with knee or lower-back pain. As a result, your chauffeur will be less stressed while driving, hopefully leading to a less stressful drive.

Less stress = More safety
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When a driver gets frustrated on the road, it's a recipe for disaster. Since automatic transmissions reduce the stress on the driver, the ride could be safer for everyone involved as well.

Better resale value
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The desirability of automatic transmissions has been increasing sharply, so when the time comes to sell your car, you can be assured that the demand for ATs in the used car market would be even higher than it is today.

No back seat driving frustration
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You don't have to bite your tongue as you watch and wait for the driver to shift up or down a gear, or prompt him to do the same. It's all taken care of.

Less chance of driver taking it to his choice of garage for a commission
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Many automatic transmissions nowadays are complex and can only be fixed by the authorized dealers. This means that if something goes wrong, there are lower chances of your driver taking the car to a garage of his choice for a commission.

GPS-based automatic transmissions
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Some modern transmission like the ones on Rolls Royce cars are GPS aided. They scan the road ahead and pre-select the correct gear, depending on the road condition and curves ahead.
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Old 21st February 2021, 22:43   #2
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 21st February 2021, 23:23   #3
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Aesthetics. Auto gear selectors are visually pleasing to look at. They are stylishly designed and comparing to manual selectors they not show signs of wear with time because its less used. Also, auto drivers are more likely to drive with both their hands on steering.
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Old 21st February 2021, 23:32   #4
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Smoother
Convenience for the times you / your spouse drive the car yourselves
Your chauffeur will be less stressed
Less stress = More safety
These are the main highlights for which I too would suggest owners to buy automatic cars for their chauffeured rides. The positives are in abundance for an automatic transmission. I am not sure if this link was there in the OP, if not here it is once again:
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...sciplined.html (Do automatic transmissions make drivers calmer, less stressed & more disciplined?)

My only suggestion would be to make sure the driver gets familiar to using an automatic car. There are several incidents where the drivers managed to crash an automatic car on delivery itself.

Last edited by TrackDay : 21st February 2021 at 23:35.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 00:41   #5
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

I've been pondering about this so much in my head and finally there's a thread to talk about it.

I agree with all of the points from OP - though I'd like to take a different approach to this discussion. Considering the cars from different segments:


1. Automatic versions of hatches, and compact sedans (Cars less than 12L) - It doesn't make sense to get an automatic in this segment even if its chauffeured. Reasons outlined below:

- No proper automatic (Barring few CVTs which are not very fuel economy friendly)
- manuals will definitely be more efficient compared to the automatics in this segments and combined with economy consciousness, people will tend to go for manuals if chauffeured.

Btw, I've seen such cars being chauffeur driven, especially in tier 2 & 3 towns, and villages

2. Automatic versions of proper sedans and SUVs (Cars in range 12L - 35L)

- proper automatics available (TCs/DCTs), and it makes total sense to buy automatics just for one reason alone: manuals if not driven properly can be pretty jerky and it can be annoying. Automatics will be smooth to drive and the owners in backseat would be much more relaxed.

- Fuel efficiency can be managed by driving the cars sedately, which again is what the owners in backseat would wish. Also, FE shouldn't make a lot of difference or be a cause of concern, for people who have invested so much in the car.

3. Cars above 35L - These cars would be mostly high end german/koreans and it would be rare to find a manual in this price segment.


TL;DR - General buyer should prefer TC/CVT/DCT Automatics for all chauffeured cars, just because it would add a lot of drive comfort to their drive, by masking the jerkiness in shifts.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:21   #6
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

One pro in the favour of MT cars for chauffers, if in case they mess up - which they may be prone to as they drive several cars, repairing a car equipped with Manual Transmission is going to cost a person far less. They're low maintenance and the clutch replacement costs a miniscule amount (at least for those who can afford a chauffer).

As for luxury cars, are there even MT variants for those available in India?
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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:23   #7
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

I have a mixed opinion on this topic. I partly agree as well as disagree.

Smoother ride - Right gear - More gears: Agree. Though, seasoned chauffeurs know the knack of plush driving.

Convenience: Partly agree. This is only an occasional event.

No engine abuse - No clutch pedal riding: Definitely agree.

Better fuel efficiency: Disagree. Manuals are also pretty efficient.

Chauffeur will be less stressed - Less stress = More safety : Partly agree. Experienced drivers are usually well composed.

Better resale value : Definitely agree.

No back seat driving frustration : Disagree. Actually manual shift works well when you need those quick maneuvers.

Less chance of driver taking it to his choice of garage for a commission : Disagree. It has to be our call where the car gets serviced. On the contrary, if a FNG cannot work on it, it is going to be inconvenient and also expensive to maintain.

GPS-based automatic transmissions like the RR : it's an overkill.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:28   #8
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

The only negative I see is changing a normal drivers habit which is a tough task. Most drivers have a tendency to sit with their foot on the brake in D during signals or long stops which is havoc for the car (brakes, transmission and engine) in the long run besides being extremely irritating to see from the back seat. They have to be trained and constantly reminded to put the car in N during these times.

Cheers
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:58   #9
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Default

Honestly, it starts and stops at the better driving experience.
The driver is more focussed on the road, less stressed, and a smoother drive!
I wouldn't bring up fuel economy as many drivers have different habits, especially in the city. On the highway its fair game more or less due to the higher number of gears.

That being said, I am very comfortable giving a convention TC or CVT gearbox to the drivers, but still a little wary of the DSGs given our stop & go conditions.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 05:24   #10
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Unless it is a beater car meant only for driver (ab)use, I agree with the points on the thread.

I know a few families who have an Amaze/Ciaz/Jazz with an MT to ferry senior citizens and kids of the house. The main car of the house is an Innova Crysta/XUV 500 which are ATs, but are rarely chauffeur driven.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 07:36   #11
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

For me, the principal reason for having bought an automatic even as our second car (which the driver drives) is reason 2 that Chetan mentioned - the optionality of driving yourself. If we had a manual, my wife would never drive herself - and to be honest, I would never drive her car either. Even if you have a driver, there will be days off and vacations that he takes (which never coincide with your own). And there are times when the driver disappears and you need to find a new one. Being independent makes all of this far less painful
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Old 22nd February 2021, 07:41   #12
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Completely agreed with the message in this thread .

If you can spend Rs 20,000 / month on a chauffeur, you can very well spend 1 lakh more for a smoother drive. If you keep your car for 10 years (as most BHPians do), its basically 833 bucks / month extra, plus the 2 kmpl hit on FE. But what you gain is a far smoother driving experience & less abuse to your car.

Seeing a driver ride the clutch, crunch gears or lug the engine just breaks my heart.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:37   #13
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

There’s no need to shout, DSG owners, we hear you. No, this thread is not meant for you.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 10:51   #14
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

Because the driver is a human too

Driving a manual in city traffic would be a pain for him too especially since drivers are likely to drive more than average. People keep drivers when they need someone to drive many hours a day or for long commutes so it is in your interest to take care of your employee.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 11:09   #15
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Default Re: Why even chauffeur-driven owners should choose an Automatic gearbox

On a lighter note, our driver has started complaining driving the automatics " sir boring lagta hai"
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