The demand of the Automatic Transmission Cars has witnessed a surge lately on account of their faster acceleration and effortless driving. One out of every six cars being sold in India is equipped with a single shift transmission. The automatic transmission is favored not only in the sedan and SUV segment but also in the small car segment. Indian customers these days are opting automatic transmission in cars like Hyundai i10 and i20, Maruti A-star and Dzire and Honda City etc.
According to Mr. Jnaneshar Sen, Senior VP (Marketing & Sales) of Honda India, this drift towards the automatic transmission was totally called for on account of the stressful driving in India. This stress is a result of the congested city roads, unorganized urban traffic, rising traffic density and stop-n-go commuting on the road of India. The automatic transmission is helping the Indian drivers in tackling the driving conditions that are changing very fast and a clutch-less single shift gear option ensures a smooth and easy drive.
Automatic cars are less complicated to drive since they come with only two pedals, one each for brake and accelerator and there is a single shift gear lever in place of the manual gearbox that allows six movements. With automatic transmission the car needs just one shift on the gear to get into motion and the left leg is completely free which reduces the overall drving effort by 60 percent in comparison to manual cars. The buyers are tempted by the ease of driving even when the prices are high and the manufacturers are being forced to include the Auto Transmission in the smaller car segment too since it is the volume pulling segment of the Indian car market.
This increase in demand also symbolizes that the Indians are inclined towards buying expensive top-end AT variant of a car which costs 15-30 percent more the manual variants of the same car. The response seems to have doubled in the last few years and the market of AT cars still has a great potential which has gone untapped till now. According to Maruti Suzuki India’s Managing Executive Officer - Marketing, Mr. Mayank Pareek, the Indians have an exposure of the global markets and once they experience convenient driving they would surely look for the same here in India. India is prone to serious traffic jams that can numb the left leg of the driver and this thing is sure to force people to consider the purchase of AT cars, he added.
Honda India is also looking at brisk sales of its AT cars and Mr. Jnaneshwar Sen indicated that the automatic variant of Honda City earlier accounted for 13% of the total sales of the sedan and now the figure has risen to 23%, on the other hand 32% of the total sales of the Honda Civic sedan come from AT variant of this car. He added that the technology is being improved continuously and this has resulted in a fuel mileage that is at par with the manual counterparts thus there is no big sacrifice on the cost. The automatic variants of high-end cars like CRV and Accord from the model line-up of Honda bag more than 60% of the total sales.
The motivators of automatic drive in India were the luxury car makers like BMW and Audi as they sold only automatic cars in the car market of India which is very buoyant. The luxury cars are mostly chauffeur driven so a car with less wear and tear in the long run is preferred. The market for AT cars has increased from 2% to 12-14% in a span of 5 years; this has resulted because of the entry of new car-makers in this category like Nissan, Volkswagen, Renault and Skoda.
According to Mr. Arvind Saxena, Director of Hyundai India, another factor propelling the increasing demand is the decreasing price gap in the manual and automatic variants which has resulted because of the growth in the volumes. These days eight gear options are replacing the five speed forward options in manuals gears boxes and some automatic transmission cars are also rendered with paddle shift gear options that can be converted into manual gears.