Monday, January 06, 2014
By Kamal Swami
Maruti to bring a new revolution in auto industry
The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki will soon introduce a revolutionary technology allowing manual gears to be used like automatic transmission without engaging the clutch. What's more, the improved technology will not affect fuel efficiency or the price of the car. Maruti will be the first in India to debut this automatic manual transmission (AMT), a technology derived from the famed F1 motorsports arena that is expected to be a turning point in the small-car segment, thereby improving the overall driving experience.
Introduced in its upcoming global hatchback (codename:YL7), which will make its world debut at the New Delhi Auto Expo 2014, it allows the driver to directly change gears without engaging the clutch. Maruti is going to name the new offering Celerio in India, it is learnt. "It gives the comfort of an automatic transmission and the fuel efficiency of a manual transmission," said a senior Maruti Suzuki executive, requesting anonymity. "Customers can change gears like any automatic transmission car but the cost of this will be like a regular manual-geared car," he added.
Officially though, Maruti Suzuki did not respond to a query citing that the company does not comment on its future models. These cars will not have the third clutch pedal, and the hydraulic system will allow the driver to shift gears without using the clutch, either sequentially or fully automatically. The biggest advantage of this technology is that it will deliver high fuel mileage like manual transmission cars. At present, auto transmission cars compromise a great deal on fuel efficiency. The new car is expected to be a shade more expensive than the regular manually-operated gear cars, but way cheaper than the automatics that are priced almost 25 per cent higher. Automatic gears have failed to make an impact in compact cars and hatchbacks due to their higher prices, though they are a big hit with larger sedans and luxury cars.
For instance, Maruti's manual-geared A-Star LXi starts at Rs 3.88 lakh, while the automatic version is priced at Rs 4.77 lakh. According to people familiar with the development, Maruti is taking the lead to incorporate this sophisticated technology in its mass-market compact cars to maintain its leadership position.
Source: Economic Times