Maruti Suzuki has been a pioneer in mass car manufacturing and in the past they have been credited for a lot of automotive innovations. Maruti credited with many firsts in the Indian automobile industry also introduced the automatic transmission in 1987. Twenty-seven years later they are about to rewrite history and this time for making driving easier; wait, don’t we have automatic cars for that? Well read on to find more.
Maruti is gearing up for the biennial national auto show in India, the Auto Expo 2014, and this time, as reported in a news daily, they plan to excite car buyers by offering an automated car. The automated car will be devoid of the clutch pedal while retaining the traditional H-gate stick shifter. In the past we have heard about this feature and some third party companies have unsuccessfully tried selling this technology as well. But, it was never put into mass production and with a manufacturer like Maruti selling it, you won’t give it a cold-shoulder either. Rumour has it that Maruti might equip the upcoming YL7 hatchback with this system.
This technology originally patented by Magnetti Marelli, which is owned by Fiat S.P.A, lacks mass appeal in a market like India as car buyers here are typically resistant to change. The fear is that ‘will it be reliable and what will happen if something goes wrong?’ This might be a thing of the past if Maruti introduces this system, however the sales might be concentrated in urban areas. Although, it might entice a customer looking for an automatic car, it would be hard to convince a regular manual buyer.
This new system will be very effective and there will be no loss in fuel economy figures (AT cars are thirsty) and might be fractionally expensive than their manual counterparts. Typically automatic cars are comfortable to punt around in traffic and are ideal for our roads; however, the pricing is a big turn off. The entry B-segment automatic hatchbacks available in the market today cost 23 – 25 per cent more than their manual counterparts. Maruti currently offers the A-Star, Swift Dzire and the SX4 with automatic transmissions, none have found many takers. But, a customer in the market for an automatic will buy it, and how well this new form of driving captivates the Indian car buyers is currently difficult to gauge.
Source: Economic Times